SCOTLAND is gearing up to host more international cycling events following the success of holding the sport’s biggest-ever global competition.

More than 8000 athletes from 130 nations have been in Glasgow and around the country to take part in the UCI Cycling World Championships since August 3.

Organisers said the event has further boosted Scotland’s reputation as a major event destination as it draws to a close today with competitions including the Women’s Elite Road Race.

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Nearly half a million people either attended a ticketed session or took to the roadside to watch events in the opening five days alone, according to UCI.

The event has been broadcast in countries around the world including across Europe, Canada and South Africa, with more than two million viewers in the UK watching the action live on the BBC in the first four days.

The competition included a range of disciplines, such as artistic cycling, mountain biking, BMX Freestyle and para-cycling road and track.

Nick Rennie, the chief executive of Scottish Cycling, said the event had been of similar size to the Commonwealth Games.

“It has never been done before, this is the first concept of it, and the biggest-ever cycling event,” he said.

“It is fantastic and a model that UCI seems really pleased with and looking at replicating. It is great they came to Scotland to do it.”

He added: “I am sure there will be some announcements in the next few weeks about further international cycling events that will come in the future.

The National: The Championships have been a great successThe Championships have been a great success (Image: Gordon Terris)

“A lot of the athletes and the teams are delighted about the quality of the venues and facilities and also the welcome they are getting from the Scottish people.

“The UCI are happy with us, the teams and competitors are happy, so we are looking at how we bid and hopefully secure further cycling events in the future.”

Rennie said he also expected it would boost cycle tourism in Scotland – with more people already coming to the country to stay overnight through cycling than through golf.

“I think the spend per head is slightly higher for golf, but that is only going to grow after an event like this,” he said.

“The people who come to watch the event have a great time, but also it’s been beamed round the world so I’m sure we will see a significant increase in cycle tourism going forward.”

With the event resulting in road closures, particularly around Glasgow city centre, there have been concerns raised about the disruption caused by the competition.

Rennie acknowledged there had been some impact but added: “I don’t think that overshadows the vast majority of people seeing the benefit of having a huge mega cycling event.”

Trudy Lindblade, 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships chief executive, said the competition had been “incredibly well received”.

“Scotland has a proud record of hosting major events, and it’s clear from the excitement and enthusiasm generated here that the 2023 UCI World Cycling Championships have further boosted the nation’s reputation as a major event destination,” she said.

Lindblade also said that the championships can leave a legacy of being a “catalyst for change” across Scotland.

“Taking a policy-led approach, we aim to inspire participation, inclusion, accessibility and sustainability and deliver a lasting legacy for everyday cycling after the event has concluded,” she said.

“We know that investment committed in advance of the championships includes an £8 million cycling facilities fund with many pump tracks and other facilities already built and open for participation, almost £4m to Active Travel legacy projects and a £1.4m Community Cycling Fund.”

She added that a post-event impact assessment had been commissioned to measure the social and economic benefits delivered by the championships.

Simon Chadwick, professor of sport and geopolitical economy at Skema Business School in Paris, cautioned that work had to be done to build a legacy from major sporting events and it should not be “assumed” it will happen.

He said: “The positive impacts of staging mega-events are much heralded, with hosts often making all manner of claims about the benefits such as increased spending and employment.

“However, studies of net economic impact tend to show that, at best, overall benefits tend to be marginal.

“Indeed, sceptics argue that hosting sporting events costs more than they generate in revenues.”

“There can be other benefits, for instance socio-cultural, measured in terms of increased sports participation.

“Indeed, there is evidence that staging the likes of UCI events can induce a feelgood factor, which results in an uptick in cycle sales.

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“Nevertheless, this impact can be short-lived unless sports bodies and government organisations strategically work to sustain and build impact in these terms.”

He added: “The important thing for Scotland, once the event has closed, is that it doesn’t simply assume there will be hosting benefits. Rather, it must actively manage what comes next, if a wide range of lasting positive outcomes is to be secured.”