The UCI, cycling’s world governing body, is to add a mixed relay event for the first time to next year’s Road World Championships, to be held in Yorkshire in the UK, as it strives to “encourage gender equality” in the sport.
The team time-trial mixed relay will be contested by national teams made up of three men and three women, and will replace the existing team time trial featuring professional teams.
The men will ride the first lap of a circuit in Harrogate, followed by the women who will ride the second lap.
David Lappartient, the UCI’s president, told the BBC: “The championships will be taking place less than a year out from the Olympic Games, with riders seeking to earn precious qualification points for Tokyo 2020.
“I cannot wait to witness this first-ever race, which is part of the UCI’s drive to further increase the attractiveness of our Road World Championships, encourage gender equality, and showcase national federations and their riders.”
The championships, which are scheduled for 21 to 29 September, 2019, will also for the first time incorporate four Paralympic road races.
In March, the UCI strongly denied a claim in a press release from Veneto that the Italian region had been awarded the right to host the Road World Championships in 2020, pointing out that bidding was still open and welcoming a rival bid from Drenthe and Groningen in the Netherlands.
In the event, neither bid was successful.Lappartient said: “We are happy to have been able to award a record number of UCI World Championships for the period 2020-2024. With the UCI Road World Championships which will take place in Africa in 2025, several continents are now preparing to welcome UCI Worlds.”