Dumfries & Galloway will further etch its place in cycling history by welcoming the world’s best Para-cyclists after it was named as the host region for the historic Para-cycling Road at 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships.
The region, which lays claim to introducing the first pedal-driven bicycle to the world in 1839, will see athletes competing on single bikes, tandems, tricycles and hand-cycles for the World Championship titles across the varied Para-cycling disciplines and the right to wear the coveted rainbow jersey – an honour bestowed to every UCI World Champion.
To mark the launch, Scottish Paralympic cycling medallists Fin Graham and Jenny Holl and world-record hand-cyclist Ken Talbot joined representatives from the 2023 UCI Cycling Worlds, Dumfries & Galloway Council and South of Scotland Enterprise in the heart of Dumfries.
Building on Dumfries & Galloway’s long association with hosting world-class cycling events, including the Tour of Britain on 10 separate occasions, the 2023 UCI Cycling Worlds will cement the region’s reputation as a renowned cycling tourism destination on a global stage supporting innovation, equality, diversity, and inclusion.
The Championships will also take advantage of Dumfries & Galloway’s stunning cycling terrain with terrain ranging from the coast of Solway Firth to Scotland’s highest village at Wanlockhead for the course routes for the multitude of races across the variety of classifications being designed in conjunction with local partners present a fitting challenge to the competitors.
Para-cycling Road will create history as part of the inaugural 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships which will see 13 UCI World Championships brought together for the first time as one mega-event.
With more than 2,600 athletes competing from around 120 countries, an expected one million spectators and more than one billion viewers worldwide, the 2023 UCI Cycling Worlds will be the biggest cycling event ever and one of the top 10 sporting events on the planet.
The Championships will take place in August 2023 in Glasgow and across Scotland and last month Glasgow was announced as the venue for eight of the 13 UCI Cycling World Championships. Now, Dumfries & Galloway becomes the first venue outside of Glasgow to be unveiled as a host, for an event that promises to bring the power of the bike to the whole of Scotland.
Fin Graham, 21, who won two silver medals in Tokyo during his first appearance in the Paralympics earlier this month, said: “Ever since I heard about the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships coming to Glasgow and Scotland I’ve been excited about it and it is great that Dumfries & Galloway will host the Para-cycling Road events. The landscape and scenery in the region is stunning and will be a great host to the Championships. To have the Para-cycling Road World Championships involved alongside the other Championships is huge for our sport and it is a huge ambition of mine to take part in front of a home crowd as well.”
Jenny Holl, 21, joined the British Para Cycling Team earlier this year following a successful junior track cycling career and secured a Paralympic silver medal alongside tandem partner Sophie Unwin in Tokyo, added: “I’ve raced in Dumfries & Galloway before and I know it will be a great host of the Para-cycling Road events as part of the 2023 UCI Cycling Worlds. It will be such a special occasion for the whole cycling family to come together and compete in one Championships and I’m especially proud that it will happen for the first time in my home country.”
American born Ken Talbot, who now lives in Edinburgh holds the current speed world record for a hand cyclist at 51.86mph, said: “I’m incredibly excited that the Para-cycling Road World Championships are being held in Dumfries & Galloway as part of the 2023 UCI Cycling Worlds. It will be such a special experience to see hand-cyclists from all over the world competing alongside other world-class athletes from across multiple cycling disciplines. I think people will be hugely inspired when they see what can be achieved by these Para athletes and I would love it if it can attract more people into cycling either for sport, leisure or travel regardless of their physical abilities.”
The UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships will see upwards of 300 athletes from more than 30 countries compete with the Road Race and Time Trial events featuring in Dumfries & Galloway. The Mixed Team Relay will be held in Glasgow.
Trudy Lindblade, Chief Executive of the 2023 UCI Cycling Worlds, said: “I’m pleased that Dumfries & Galloway has been announced as our first venue outside Glasgow for the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships and I know the region will do a terrific job of hosting the Para-cycling Road World Championships. The 2023 UCI Cycling Worlds will be like nothing Scotland and the world has ever seen before so I’m excited that we can engage communities across the whole of the country in this event. Our colleagues at Dumfries & Galloway Council and South of Scotland Enterprise have been hugely positive about being a host region for the 2023 UCI Cycling Worlds and we look forward to working with them over the next two years to maximise the benefits of bringing this global event here and showcasing the transformative power of the bike.”
Councillor Andrew Ferguson, Chair of Dumfries & Galloway Council’s Communities Committee, said: “Here in South West Scotland, we are serious about supporting cycling. It will be a privilege to host the UCI Para–cycling Road World Championships in August 2023 and play a part in showcasing Scotland’s cycling heritage to the World. Athletes, officials and spectators will receive the warmest of welcomes and I’m sure local people will turn out in their thousands to cheer on the para-cyclists and take in the races.”
Professor Russel Griggs OBE, Chair of South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE), said: “With Dumfries and Galloway credited with being the region which introduced the pedal bicycle to the world, it feels fitting that it will now play a major role in the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships.
“As the economic and community development agency for the South of Scotland, our support for the Para-cycling Road event ties into our core values which centre around being bold, striving, inclusive and responsible, and will help bring a global focus to Dumfries and Galloway.
“Working with partners, we are committed to helping the South of Scotland build on its already impressive cycling reputation, highlighted by our involvement in the Borderlands Growth Deal project to create a mountain bike innovation centre, bike park and trail lab at Innerleithen in the Scottish Borders.”