Of all the dozens of countries, including three this week alone, David Lappartient has visited during his tenure as President of cycling’s global governing body, the UCI, there was little doubt in his mind from the very early days where he wanted to host his sport’s first-ever edition of the newly-formed Cycling World Championships. 

This summer, 13 of the sport’s world championships will take place simultaneously, which will see thousands of competitors from across the globe compete for over 200 world titles and almost as soon as Lappartient came up with the idea of staging this mega-event, the prospect of Scotland hosting it came to the fore. 

“I was President of the European Cycling Union when the discussions about the Glasgow 2018 European Championships were happening and I saw the concept, the success and the strong desire within Glasgow and Scotland to welcome major events,” the 49-year-old Frenchman says.  

“Then, when I was elected as UCI President, I spoke to Paul Bush (COO of Event Scotland); I told him we had an idea about this new event and he said “well, why not Scotland?”.  

“We knew that people all across Scotland are very sport-friendly and very easy to work with and so there was many green lights for us. 

“From there, we started to work together. The UCI started off with the concept but the reality of it is something we’ve very much built and developed with Scotland.”  

The seeds of this event may have been sown several years ago but it is only now Lappartient has been able to witness first-hand just how prepared this country is to host the event, which takes place over 11 days in August.  

This week, the Frenchman, who was last year elected as a member of the International Olympic Committee, visited Scotland to check on the progress being made.  

While there are, admits Lappartient, several creases yet to be ironed out, the readiness both of Glasgow, where the majority of the disciplines will be held, as well venues within Edinburgh, Fort William, Loch Lomond and Glentress which will also host disciplines, has, he says, been hugely encouraging. 

“The visit went really well and I think this is going to be a really amazing event – to have all these disciplines together in the wonderful landscape of Scotland is going to be fantastic,” he says. 

“Things are looking positive – there’s still a few challenges but we have time to sort out the last few things. 

“As of this week, we have 168 countries who have confirmed their participation and we think we can reach 180, which would be something that’s never happened before. That’ll be around 2800 athletes and that’s really huge for cycling.  

“I’ve been in quite a few countries this week and I can really feel the riders’ excitement building.” 

What is intriguing about this event is the ambitious decision to hold all disciplines’ World Championships simultaneously. 

There will be the widely-recognised events which boast some of the most famous faces in the sport such as track, road and mountain bike but over the eleven days some of cycling’s lesser-known disciplines like indoor cycling and gran fondo will be given a platform they’ve never before been afforded. 

And while the challenge of combing all World Championships has, admits Lappartient, not been easy, he’s convinced the sport as a whole will benefit significantly, along with Scotland’s wider community. 

“This event is huge for the national federations but also for the Scottish public,” he says. 

“This is a really big cycling championship but we actually want it to be seen as a cycling festival. We’ll celebrate cycling and we’ll celebrate all the disciplines.  

“But the UCI and the Scottish Government have also been keen throughout this process to ensure we use this event to promote and support cycling and to help encourage the Scottish population to use a bike and get the health benefits of that. 

“Really, the goal is to get more people riding their bike.” 

It is by mere coincidence that cycling, and the UCI in particular, has been one of the leaders when it comes to regulating what is currently one of the hottest topics in Scotland; transgender rights. 

Last year, the UCI toughened its rules on eligibility by doubling the period of time before a rider transitioning from male to female can compete from 12 months to 24 months. 

They also changed their rules on testosterone levels, stating that riders were required to be below 2.5 nmol/L for two years rather than the previous level of 5 nmol/L for one year. 

It is, admits Lappartient, an extremely contentious subject but he is adamant the UCI must protect fairness within female sport. 

He is, however, wholly resistant to his sport being used as a political football within the debate that is dividing people across society. 

“It’s a very tricky one because we have to combine human rights with fair competition and how do you do that?,” he asks. 

 “Of the women in cycling, 93 percent don’t want trans women to participate in their race because they feel like its unfair. So we have to respect the feelings of the women. 

“But we also have to be aware of human rights and that means having no kind of discrimination.  

“That’s why we made sure we used more scientific studies but we perhaps still need even more research. 

“We’re trying to find a good balance but it’s very black and white to so many people. We don’t want cycling to be used as a political tool, though.  

“We’re always asked about our position but really, our position is one of respect and one of balance.”