How to get on your bike to the UCI Road World Championships in England
Flights, tickets and accommodation details for cycling’s showcase event
Ireland’s Sam Bennett wins the third stage of the recent La Vuelta tour of Spain. Bennett’s recent run of good form has ensured a strong Irish team in the elite world championship in Yorkshire. Photograph: Getty Images
It’s not the Tour de France or the Giro for that matter but the 2019 UCI Road World Championships – which take place in Yorkshire from September 21st-29th – is the showcase of the sport and are set to provide a nine days’s festival of elite cycling.
Harrogate is the hub of the action with racing in five categories, junior men and women, elite men and women and under 23 men with rainbow jerseys presented to the winners. The Worlds has an extended format with team time trials, individual time trials and culminating with the men’s and women’s elite road races on the final Saturday and Sunday. For the first time, para-cycling will also feature.
The elite women’s road race starts from Bradford and tackles three laps of the Harrogate circuit for a total distance of 149.5km while the men’s elite race will see riders – among them Ireland’s Sam Bennett– tackled a 284.5km course that starts from Leeds and takes in seven laps of the Harrogate circuit. The hilly and technical circuit in Harrogate is 14km in length.
Bennett’s recent run of good form has ensured a strong Irish team in the elite world championship, with his runner-up finish in the London-Surrey Classic and sixth place finish in the European Championships before the qualifying window closed giving Ireland a six-strong entry.
Getting there: Both Ryanair and Aer Lingus operate flights from Dublin to Leeds Bradford airport, which is only 20 kilometres from Harrogate, while flybe operate out of Belfast. Although it is a nine-day festival, the big two races – the elite women’s on the Saturday and the men’s on the Sunday – will attract the biggest interest. Those fans looking to travel for the weekend can currently get a Ryanair flight from Dublin on the Friday morning for €35 (departing 7.55am) while an evening time Aer Lingus flight (departing 19.15) is available for €95. A taxi ride from Leeds Bradford to Harrogate in normal traffic conditions takes about 20 minutes and typically costs £30. For those staying in Leeds, a special nine-day return bus ticket (£50) is available for the duration of the championships.
Tickets: A number of late release tickets are available from the worlds.yorkshire.com site. Standard tickets for entry to selected routes are priced at £69.50 (short), £79.50 (medium) while premium tickets (which include entry, parking, iTab and photo) are priced at £99.50 (short) and £109.50 (medium). The premium souvenir package also includes a jersey in addition nto entry, parking, iTab and photo and is priced at £161.50 (short) and £171.50 (medium). For those opting to watch along the various routes or in the fan zone in Harrogate, it is free viewing: the fan zone will be showing all the racing on big screens throughout the week and every medal presentation will take place on the main stage. There is also a full programme of stage performances.
Where to stay: Unfortunately at this stage, hotel accommodation in Harrogate is at a premium although there remain options nearby. The Days Inn Wetherby currently has availability for a double room for two nights (September 27th-29th) for the weekend of the elite races for €246 while Leeds is also an option, with the Jurys Inn having availability for the same two nights for €279.