A few driving forces still believed in a cycling world championship in Norway after a world championship in Oslo in 1993 resulted in bankruptcy. On Thursday, it was confirmed that Bergen will be the host city in three years from now.
The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), cycling’s governing body, made their decision on Thursday afternoon in Ponferrada, Spain. Bergen was chosen as host city in three year's time, beating off rival bids from Bogotá, Innsbruck and Melbourne.
Bergen's bid was four years in the making. President of Norges Cykleforbund (Norwegian Cycling Federation), Harald Tiedemann Hansen, said to NTB: “The idea really took off when Thor Hushovd won the world champion title in Australia in 2010. We have worked on it since and I'm grateful that we once again get the opportunity to join in.”
The Norwegian city successfully hosted a cycling championship in 2012 and build its reputation as a solid organizer of such events. Norges Cykleforbund again chose Bergen from among several other Norwegian cities to bid for the 2017 championship.
The organizing committee behind Bergen's bid were in high spirits when the news came from Spain.
Federation president Hansen told NTB: “Surprised? Not really. We had a good feeling because we had a good presentation, but you never know.
“This is a big day for Norwegian cycling sports. We are proud and humble that UCI has shown us such trust and it will be very uplifting for cycling sports in Norway. We are very happy about what we have achieved.”
The cycling world championship is the third largest sports arrangement in the world, measured by the number of television viewers.
Oslo held the Cycling World Championship in 1993, but the organizers went bankrupt after the event with debt of millions of kroner.
The cost to put on the world championship in 2017 is 156 million kroner ($25 million). The Norwegian Ministry of Culture will contribute 30 million kroner ($4.7 million) to the organizers.
On Bergen's financial plan for the cost of the championship, Hansen said: “We feel that we have a sustainable budget. We have also got support from UCI.”
Bergen has plans to build a cycling track that will pass through both Sotra and Askøy in addition to a cross-country cycling track inside the city.
The dates of the 2017 championship are September 17th to 24th.
Bergen also applied for the cycling world championship in 2016, but Doha in Qatar won their bid to be host city. This year's championship will take place in Ponferrada.
When Norway held the cycling world championship last, in 1993, cycling took place on both road and track. The road rides were held in Oslo, while the track races took place in a temporary velodrome inside what is the Viking Ship Olympic Hall in Hamar.