Qatar will be the ninth non-European host of the World Championships since 1921 - here's a look back at the others
With the UCI taking the road World Championships on the road to Qatar this year we’re taking a look back at all the other times the main event has travelled outside of Europe.
With the sport being predominantly based in Europe, trips around the globe have been a fairly recent phenomenon, with six of the previous eight ‘overseas’ events in the last 30 years.
So here is a look back at each of the eight previous jaunts to different continents and a look ahead to this year’s event in Qatar.
1974 – Canada
Montreal was chosen to be the host of the first road World Championships outside of Europe, 53 years after the championships were first held in 1921.
The course around the Canadian city was something of a warm up for the road race at the Olympics in 1976 and saw Eddy Merckx win his third and final world title, beating Raymond Poulidor by just two seconds on the line.
The legacy of the 1974 race comes in the form of the current WorldTour Classic, the GP Montreal, which takes in the same Mount Royal climb tackled in the World Championships.
1977 – Venezuela
Three years later, the World Championships went on the road for a second time, this time to South America and the city of San Cristobal in Venezuela.
The trip to the Southern Hemisphere worked out well for Italian Francesco Moser, who took his one and only world road race title ahead of Dietrich Thurau and fellow Italian Franco Bitossi.
Josiane Bost of France won the women’s title, while the team time trial was won by the Soviet Union.
1986 – USA
It was a full nine years until the Worlds left Europe’s shores again, with the race heading to North America again to Colorado Springs.
Moreno Argentin took his one and only world title in the same year he won his second of three successive Liège-Bastogne-Liège titles. His year as champion was pretty successful as well, winning Liège again and also Il Lombardia in the Autumn.
Jeannie Longo won the second of her five world titles in Colorado ahead of home favourite Janelle Parks.
1990 – Japan
The World Championships headed east for the first time in 1990, to the Japanese city of Utsunomiya and provided one of the most exciting finishes in men’s road race history.
Two members of the breakaway group stayed away by just eight seconds on the hilly circuit, with Belgian duo Rudy Dhaenens and Dirk de Wolf – who earlier crashed, but managed to get back on – beating Gianni Bugno into third.
In the women’s race, Catherine Marsal added to her Giro d’Italia and French road championships wins with a three-minute victory over Ruthie Matthes.
1995 – Colombia
‘Inspiring a generation’ could be the phrase to describe the UCI’s decision to take the 1995 Worlds to Colombia. Look at the number of world-class Colombian riders in the peloton now who would have been kids when the event took place in Duitama and it may well be a direct correlation.
The races themselves weren’t too shabby either, with Abraham Olano beating teammate Miguel Indurain and Marco Pantani to the line over seven gruelling hours, while Longo beat Marsal to take the women’s race.
It was a case of roles reversed in the men’s time trial, with Indurain winning comfortably from Olano and Longo won the women’s race by over a minute.
2003 – Canada
After another lengthy stint in Europe, Canada was hosted to host the race again in 2003 with Hamilton playing host to the races that proved to be slightly controversial.
2003 was the year that David Millar won the men’s time trial, only to have his result stripped after testing positive for EPO.
In the road races, Igor Astarloa topped off his Flèche Wallone-winning season with a somewhat surprising World Champs win ahead of fellow Spaniard Alejandro Valverde.
Britain’s Nicole Cooke finished third in the women’s road race as Sweden’s Susanne Ljungskog won her second successive world title.
2010 – Australia
A year after Cadel Evans became the first Australian to win the world road race title, the race headed to his home nation and a route around Geelong, near Melbourne.
Having won a stage of the Tour de France and Vuelta a España earlier in the year, Norwegian champion Thor Hushovd added the rainbow stripes to his palmares.
There were some familiar faces on the podium in the U23 events, with Australia’s Michael Matthews beating John Degenkolb and Taylor Phinney in the road race. Phinney won the time trial title ahead of Luke Durbridge and a certain Marcel Kittel.
2015 – USA
Sagan took on the Classics-like circuit in downtown Richmond and came out on top, with a well-timed attack ensuring he’d wear the rainbow stripes in the biggest races in 2016.
Vasil Kiryienka was a somewhat surprising winner of the men’s time trial, while Linda Villumsen became New Zealand’s first Worlds medallist.
2016 – Qatar
For the second year running the peloton is heading out of Europe and for the first time it’s heading to the desert heat of the Qatar desert.
A sprinter’s course should suit the likes of Mark Cavendish in the men’s race, while Anna van der Breggen is among the favourites for the women’s race after another dominant season in the WorldTour.