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West Flanders Angling to Host Worlds

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Closest thing to news in Sporza today... After losing out to neighboring Limburg province (Netherlands) on the 2012 festivities, organizers in West Flanders are gearing up for another run at either the 2013 or 2014 UCI World Road Cycling Championships. Apparently their last effort centered around the city/-ies of Hooglede-Gits, hosts of the 2007 Cross Worlds. Now, they plan to bill this as a bid by the province of West Flanders -- mimicking the regional-themed Limburg bid and putting some daylight between their ambitions and the fact that the UCI let Hooglede host an event just a few years back. No double-dipping, I suppose.

One possible knock on West Flanders would be the course. While a lovely place to visit, West Flanders does not include the major -bergs of de Ronde. Think Gent-Wevelgem: namely the Kemmelberg and Monteberg. And even there, the organizers aren't planning to include the Kemmelberg, since it's too sketchy for normal people, even by pro cycling standards. Translation: sprinters' course. According to organizer Rik Debaussaert, the original Hooglede-Gits bid wasn't a hard enough course, and I'm not sure the Monteberg alone solves that.

Another knock on their bid would be the fact that the UCI will have just held the worlds in Denmark and Limburg (and Australia in 2010), so the low countries of Northern Europe might not be due to host another worlds for a few years. On the other hand, Belgium is one of the pillars of the sport, and won't have hosted a worlds since 2002, with Spain, Italy, and every inch of German-speaking soil having more recently had a turn. France hasn't hosted since 2000, and the UCI is always looking for non-traditional locales too. But Belgium's number has to come up again, soon.