Some 1600 amateur cyclists from all over the world are gathered in the Italian city of Trento for the Final of the UCI World Cycling Tour.
After Stavelot (Belgium) in 2011 and Pietermaritzburg (South Africa) in 2012, the Trento edition is set to break new participation records. Of the 1600 participants, 500 will compete in the individual time trials on Friday and 1200 in the road races on Sunday.
Racing action will be broadcast live on Italian television RAI.
The finalists have earned the right to compete for the rainbow jersey in their respective age groups by finishing in the top 25% of one of the 11 qualifying events held throughout the world. The winners of each age group in Trento will become World Champions in their own right.
A new feature of the 2013 final is the team relay, a test event that this year will not result in official World Titles. Twelve teams of four riders, each mixed men and women, will participate in the relay before the official Opening Ceremony at the Piazza Duomo on Thursday evening.
Turning back the clock in Italyâs cycling history, three teams of cycling legends will race in a separate relay. Participants will include great names such as Felice Gimondi, Francesco Moser, Marino Basso and Gilberto Simoni.
âWe are without doubt about to witness an exceptional few days of racing,â commented UCI Event Coordinator Andrea Marcellini MendonÃ§a. âThe level of the athletes is exceptional, and the road race course extremely demanding, finishing atop the mythical Monte Bondone. The athletes who competed in the qualifier here in Trento have already had a taste of what is to come!â
Ms Marcellini also commented on her satisfaction at the number of women behind the organisation of this World Championships event: The President of the Organising Committee, the Chief Commissaireâs Panel, the Doping Control Officer, the UCI Board Member representative, the Event Coordinator and the Official Speaker are all women!
Photo: Amyâs Gran Fondo in Australia is one of the qualifying events