2023 UCI Cycling World Championships schedule, tickets and events explained
Thirteen Cycling World Championships will take place in Scotland, but how do the Championships work, what is the schedule like and where can you purchase tickets?
The inaugural UCI Cycling World Championships is here, with cycling enthusiasts from around the world arriving in Scotland.
With 13 World Championships taking place across 11 days, there are plenty of events to secure tickets for and plenty more which don’t need them at all.
If it all seems a little overwhelming, don't worry. From what events are on the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships schedule to where and when they take place, here's everything you need to know.
How will the Glasgow Cycling World Championships work?
For the first time ever, all seven cycling disciplines are coming together for a mega event which will see the world's best riders competing in Scotland.
There are 13 Championships which fall under the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships, these are: BMX Freestyle Flatland; BMX Freestyle Park; BMX Racing; Gran Fondo; Indoor Cycling; Mountain Bike Cross-country; Mountain Bike Cross-country Marathon; Mountain Bike Downhill; Para-Cycling Road; Para-Cycling Track; Road; Track and finally, Trials.
The championships will primarily take place in Glasgow, but due to the variety of needs for each discipline events will span the whole of Scotland.
Some events, such as the road races, will be free for spectators to attend while attending venues such as the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome will require tickets. And if you're travelling for the mountain biking, you may also have to consider transport and accommodation.
Cycling World Championships 2023 schedule
With so many events taking place from August 3 to August 13, finding out when and where each Championship is taking place can quickly become confusing. We've pulled together the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships schedule in a searchable table so you can easily find out more.
BMX Freestyle Park world championships
There are three BMX events taking place across the Championships. Taking place at Glasgow Green, the BMX Freestyle Flatland event will see each rider combine as many tricks as possible in two 60 second rounds to impress the judges and crowd. Each round is scored out of a possible 100 points – awarded on style, technique, difficulty and more – and the highest total takes gold.
The BMX Freestyle Flatland will take place at Glasgow Green. Qualifying will take place from 8am on Saturday August 5, semi-finals will take place on Sunday August 6 from 11am and the finals will be held on Monday August 7 from 1.30pm.
BMX Freestyle Flatland world championships
The BMX Freestyle Flatland event is a unique event incorporating artistry and challenging competitors to spin and style their way through a 2-3 minute round, which is essentially dancing with a BMX.
Riders will attempt tricks and hope to wow the judges with their talent and creativity while earning points for balance, stability, and control – with floor touches expected to be kept to a minimum. Often dizzying for both rider and spectator, this Glasgow Green event is free to attend.
Qualifying for both the men and women’s events will take place in the afternoon of Tuesday August 8. The men’s Elite semi-finals will take place on Wednesday August 9 in the afternoon while the Elite finals – for both events – will take place the afternoon of Thursday August 10.
BMX Racing world championships
This event is likely what springs to mind when the uninitiated think of BMX championships, with riders covering just a single lap they will encounter high-speed curves, big bumps and large jumps.
There are only two UCI standard BMX venues in the UK, with Championship venue the Glasgow BMX Centre one of them, at 400m long and just 5m wide.
Timings for this event are still to be confirmed, but BMX Racing will take place from Sunday August 6 to Wednesday August 9, and then again during the closing weekend on Saturday August 12 and Sunday August 13. Four day ticket bundles are available from just £20.
Track and Para-Cycling Track world championships
There are a range of different Track Cycling events taking place at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome during the Cycling World Championships. These events will include Keirin, Team Pursuit, Points Race, Madison, Elimination and Omnium.
Track Para-cyclists will run the same events as their non-disabled counterparts, including the Sprint, Tandem Team Sprint/Mixed Team Sprint, Time Trial, Individual Pursuit, and Scratch Race.
What is each track event?
The Sprint and Team Sprint are one on one duels which pits riders against each other to meet the qualification cut in 3 lap knockout heats until only the two strongest riders remain. The Team Sprint will also take place across 3 laps where each rider must race flat out before peeling away. When the last rider crosses the finish line, the team will receive their time.
Following a motorbike for 750m, riders in the Keirin must remain behind a motorbike, the “derny” which will speed up as each lap flies by. When the motorcycle peels away an all-out sprint begins to determine the winner.
In the Time Trial, riders must race a set distance – 1km for men, 500m for women – as quickly as they can.
Racing in the Individual Pursuit and Team Pursuit, two competitors will begin on opposite sides of the track and if one catches the other, they win. If no one is caught, the fastest time over 4km for men and 3km for women is declared the winner. The Team Pursuit operates in a similar fashion, with two teams of four riders on opposite sides of the track. If one team catches the other they are declared the winners while the same rules regarding distances also apply here.
In the Points Race cyclists race against one another in a mix of sprint and endurance. Men will ride 160 laps while women ride 100 in an effort to win points based on sprint laps which take place every ten laps, at which time 5 points will be awarded to the winner, then 3, 2, and 1, with 20 points awarded for lapping the field. In the final sprint, points are doubled, so it’s all to play for until the very end.
Riders in the Elimination event sprint every two laps with the rider who crosses the finish line last on the sprint lap eliminated. The field will narrow as the event progresses with only the strongest riders staying cycling.
Teams of two will take turns to take part in the Madison relay race, where partners will use each other's momentum using a hand sling. There are spring laps where teams attempt to gather points, with 5 for the winner, then 3, 2 and 1, and when the field is lapped they are awarded 20 points. Again, like the points race, points are doubled for the final sprint.
The Scratch event is a mass start race for solo riders, with men racing 15km and women for 10km. First across the finish line wins.
A test of versatility, riders taking part in the Omnium will be faced with four events on the same day: scratch, tempo, elimination and the points race. To win, riders must finish strong in each event as consistency is key.
Unlike many of the events which are ticketed, there are multiple Track and Para-Cycling events and stages taking place each day at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome.
Track and Para-Cycling Track world championships schedule
Events held in the morning will typically include qualifiers while finals are more often held in the evening. Tickets for the early competitions cost £15, £20 or £30, while evening tickets will cost £30, £45 and £70.
On Thursday August 3, there will be two events taking place. In the morning from 9.30am the Team Pursuit, Individual Pursuit, Sprint, and Scratch Race qualifiers will take place, alongside the Men’s Time Trial final (Omnium). In the evening, from 5pm, you can watch Round 1 of the Women’s Team Sprint and Individual Pursuit, Sprint, Time Trial and Scratch Race finals.
The morning event on Friday August 4 will take place from 10am. Team Pursuit qualifiers will take place, with both qualifying and final Time Trials kicking off. Individual Pursuit, Sprint, Time Trial and Scratch Race finals will take place from 4.45pm, as will Round 1 of the men’s Team Pursuit.
From 9am on Saturday August 5, you can catch finals of Sprint and Time Trial events, qualifying for Time Trials and the men’s Scratch Race and Round 1 of the Women Team Pursuit. From 4.45pm, Keirin events kick off as do Time Trial, Sprint, Scratch Race and Team Pursuit finals.
Keirin events will pick back up on Sunday August 6, from 9.30am Sprint and Time Trial finals and qualifiers will take place alongside the Men’s Omnium Scratch Race. The evening schedule is also full, with doors opening from 4.15pm. Omnium events pick up, as will the Women’s Elimination Race and Keirin final. Time Trial, Individual Pursuit, Scratch Race and Sprint final events are also on the schedule.
More than halfway through the Track event schedule, from 10.30 on Monday August 7 spectators will watch qualifying and finals Sprint and Time Trial races. Sprint, Individual Pursuit, Time Trial, Elimination, Madison and Scratch Race finals will kick off in the evening from 4.30pm.
The penultimate day of track events, on Tuesday August 8 fans can witness the last round of Time Trial and Team Sprint qualifiers and Women’s Sprint finals from 12pm.
Some of the final events of the Track World Championships, from 4.30pm on Tuesday evening spectators can watch riders compete in the Sprint, Time Trial, Scratch Race, Keirin, Madison and Points Race.
On Wednesday August 9, the final day of the Track and Para-Cycling World Championships, there is just one block of events in the evening. Doors open from 4.45pm with the final Sprint, Points Race, Omnium and Keirin races taking place.
Road Cycling and Para-Cycling Road world championships
For the all of the road races, no tickets are required. But you will have to camp out along the race route to get a good spot - and with Road events taking place in locations including Dumfries and Galloway, Loch Lomond and Stirling there's plenty of opportunity. In addition, a large section of the Road Championships will be held in Glasgow, and we have all the information you need about Glasgow race routes and road closures.
Road races have some of the simplest rules of the championships – fastest wins. Whoever lifts the rainbow jersey at the end of each road race will need to prove their grit and determination across Scotland’s roads, through hills and challenging roads.
There is also the Individual Time Trial and Team Time Trial Mixed Relay. In the Individual Time Trial riders set off one-by-one at regular intervals of 1-2 minutes, with aerodynamics key to this event. For the Team Time Trial Mixed Relay squads of six - three women and three men - race a road circuit in turn, men first racing their lap as quickly as possible with the following when the second man reaches them. When the second woman crosses the finish line, the team has their time.
The Junior Road Races will take place on Saturday August 5 around Glasgow with the Men Under 23 kicking off from Loch Lomond on Saturday August 12. The Men's Elite Road Race will travel from Edinburgh to Glasgow on Sunday August 6, and the women's from Loch Lomond to Glasgow on Sunday August 13.
The Team Time Trial Mixed Relay will take place in Glasgow on Tuesday August 8, the Women Elite Individual Time Trial will take place in Stirling on Thursday August 10 and both the Men Junior and Elite Time Trial events will take place the following day on Friday August 11.
As for the Para-Cycling, the Road Race will take place in Dumfries on August 11 and 12, where para-cyclists will battle it out to win. Also taking place in Dumfries, the Individual Time Trials will push para-cyclists to their limits to achieve their best times yet on August 9 and 10. Meanwhile, one of the final events of the Championships, the Para-Cycling Team Relay will take place in Glasgow on Sunday August 13 from George Square.
Gran Fondo world championships
Italian for "big race", the Gran Fondo is a long distance mass-participation championship, which is open to both amateurs and professionals. It is a free to attend event which will travel through Perth and Kinross, with the Gran Fondo Time Trial covering Dundee and Angus but spectators will need to battle it out for the best spots along the route.
We have covered the exact details of the Gran Fondo before, but for those who would like to watch the main event will take place on Friday August 4 beginning and ending in Perth. The Medio Fondo will also take place on August 4, starting and finishing in Perth, but it will cover a shorter distance.
As for the Gran Fondo Time Trial, spectators should head to Dundee on Monday August 7 to witness competitors push themselves to the limit.
Mountain Bike Downhill world championships
The Mountain Biking Downhill World Championships will take place in Fort William, which has been home to the Mountain Biking World Cup since 2007. This year, the World Championships will see dedicated fans of the sport make their annual pilgrimage to the Highlands for the event which will run from Thursday August 3 to Saturday August 5.
The Downhill is perhaps the most nail biting of all the events on during the UCI Cycling World Championships. The goal of the Downhill is to get from the top to the bottom of the track as quickly as possible, but it isn’t as simple as it may seem. The Nevis Range trail covers a distance of 2.8km with a drop of 550m, which riders must face while watching out for tree roots and rocks along the way.
It's a dangerous Championship, which can see cyclists hit speeds of up to 80km per hour while travelling across the rocky terrain. In 2014, British rider Josh Bryceland earned a silver medal during a UCI Championship event in Norway. During the final 200m of the downhill, he overshot a jump and snapped his ankle – but still rode on to the finish line.
This year’s Mountain Bike Downhill Championships will take place at Nevis Range which, for many, means a night away may be involved. Qualifying for the Junior Downhill event will take place on Thursday August 3 from 10.30am, with tickets from £10 or £30 with gondola access to the top of the hill. On Friday August 4, the Junior Finals will take place.
On the same day both Elite Men and Women will race their qualifier, with doors for all events opening from 10.30. Tickets for Friday start at £25, or £45 including gondola access. The Downhill Elite finals, which take place on Saturday August 5, kick off from 10.30am with tickets again starting at £25, or £45 including gondola access.
Two day event tickets are also available and cost £85, which includes gondola access.
Mountain Bike Cross-Country world championships
Four Mountain Biking Cross-Country Championships, not including the Marathon, will take place at Glentress Forest in the Scottish Borders which features more than 80km of purpose-built trails.
Firstly there is the Cross-Country (XCO) which is the Olympic discipline for mountain biking. This mass start event will push riders through multiple intense laps which can include natural smooth road, gravel, climbs, descents and often jumps.
Then there is the Cross-Country Short Track (XCC), which sees riders race shorter, more intense 1-1.5km laps. Riders in this event must strike the balance between skill and speed across 20 minutes.
There is also the Cross-Country Team Relay (XCR) which asks teams of six to play to their own strengths, considering strategy and speed. Each rider will complete a lap in turn to hopefully secure some medals.
And finally, there is the Electric Mountain Bike (E-MTB). Taking on a course similar to the XCO, riders in this race will be using battery-powered bikes. Top speeds during this race are capped at 25 kilometres per hour, and riders cannot swap bikes or batteries throughout. Since competitors will have a battery-boost, there will be some additional technical elements which will make use of this.
The Team Relay and E-MTB events will take place on Wednesday August 9, with concession tickets for £5 and adult tickets £15. The Junior Olympic and Elite Short Track Finals – both men and women – will take place on Thursday August 10, with tickets also £15. Tickets for the Under-23 Olympic events will cost £20 and take place on Friday August 11 from 9.30am. One of the most anticipated events of the Cross-country calendar, the Elite Olympic competition will kick off from 8.30am on Saturday August 12 with tickets available for £30.
And if you’re looking to get in on all the action, a four-day ticket from August 9 to August 12 will cost £75.
Mountain Bike Cross-Country Marathon world championships
The Mountain Bike Cross-Country Marathon Championship will also take place at Glentress Forest, and stamina will be key. Riders must face a gruelling 100km, over rough roads, gravel, climbs and descents. Starting from Traquair House in the nearby Innerleithen, riders must battle not just a physical game, but a mental one to cross the finish line at Glentress.
The marathon will kick off from 7am on Sunday August 8, and while access to this event is free you can spend £5 to purchase a shuttle bus ticket.
Indoor Cycling world championships
Among cycling’s lesser known disciplines, Indoor Cycling firmly deserves its space within the UCI Cycling World Championships. Two of the most unique events on offer during the Glasgow Championships, Artistic Cycling and Cycle-Ball are well worth the attention of guests.
Essentially gymnastics but on a bike, Artistic Cycling is enthralling to watch. Riders – who can participate solo, in pairs or in teams of four – will have five minutes to perform tricks to music of their choice. A panel of judges then scores the routines based on the exercises they perform, their level of difficulty and the execution of tricks, with the highest score winning.
Cycle-Ball is an event which in simple terms, is football but on bikes. The game features two teams of two, who must try and steer a ball into their opponents goal, across 14-minute matches. Riders can use their wheels to control, pass and strike the ball, but no feet are allowed. Bikes used in cycle-ball are even slightly different, with reinforced frames – so they can balance – and with unusually tall handlebars and seats which often go beyond the rear tyre. One worth a watch to see what the beautiful game on bikes could look like.
Trials world championships
An event which often has spectators watching with their hearts in their mouths, riders must hop and manoeuvre their bikes (which don’t have saddles) over purpose built obstacles without their feet touching the floor.
Riders will follow the arrows around the Glasgow Green course with 2 minutes per section, where they must remain precise and overcome obstacles. Whoever has the highest score and the most clean rounds will win.
All trial events are free to attend and will take place at Glasgow Green. The first Trial event, Teams, will be an all day affair on Wednesday August 9. The following day on August 10 the men’s Junior semi-finals will take place, as will the Women Elite semi-final and on Friday August 11 the Elite men’s semi-finals will run.
On Saturday August 12, fans can witness both the Elite and Junior Trial finals to see who will be crowned this year’s world champions.
How to watch the Cycling World Championships from home
If you're unable to attend the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships in person, don't fret.
The BBC will be broadcasting events daily across their TV Channels, with live streams and additional coverage available on BBC iPlayer, Sounds and more.
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