(Montreal) Montreal, the city of bikes: a dream for some, but a little less for others. Never mind, from September 2026, the metropolis of Quebec could become the world cycling capital for three weeks.
At the end of ten years of reflection and two years of active preparation, Grand Prix cyclists de Quebec and Montreal’s promoter City of Montreal and GPCQM Events announced on Thursday that the city had submitted a candidacy to host the World Championship of the Road. Cycling in 2026.
The event takes place in late September, a few days after the Cycling Grand Prix, which allows organizers to hold a “100% cycling” September in the province.
“All of these great projects are born out of an idea, madness and great passion,” recalls Sebastian Arsenalt, President of GPCQM Events.
“When we started hosting Grand Prix cycling 10 years ago, I immediately thought that thanks to some good editions, the World Championships organization could become our Holy Grail.”
The International Cycling Union (UCI) World Cycling Championships mark a major event in international sports. More than 1,000 athletes from 75 countries will meet in Montreal to try to win one of the 11 titles available if his candidacy is chosen.
These races are broadcast worldwide and visitors from all over the world come to Montreal to attend in person, so Sebastian Arsenalt says the city has every advantage in submitting his candidacy.
“A few years ago [en 2019], Montreal is known as the best cycling city in America, still one of the best university cities, and has a good reputation for its safety and culture. So when you see all that she has to offer, I can’t think of a better place to hold this kind of event. ”
Several sites have been proposed to host the races, including Avenue du Park, Jean-Mans Park, Mount Royal, Olympic Park, Jean-Drop Park and the Old Port of Montreal, but nothing in the process has been stoned at this time.
Quebec City was also considered at some stage of the process, but for various reasons not specified, Montreal was selected to submit the candidacy to UCI.
The host city of the 2026 edition will be unveiled at the next World Championships on September 24 in Belgium from September 19 to 26.
Impact for cycling in Quebec
Organizing an international caliber competition in Montreal will be a great opportunity to introduce people to the best cyclists in the world, which will also increase the visibility of cycling in Quebec.
According to the General Manager of the Federation Cubacois des Sports Cyclists (FQSC), Quebec can take advantage of the World Championships to popularize cycling in the province for more than eight days of competition.
“We can definitely imagine that Quebecs and Canadians will see athletes from our area during races and dream of participating in them one day,” said Barbeau, who has been with FQSC for nearly 35 years.
Various actors can use the five-year advantage between the host city’s announcement and the race show to promote the show and promote the benefits of cycling.
“At the end of these world championships, there will be more people who want to ride a bike, whether competitive or fun,” the general manager adds.
In an interview with the Canadian Press, the President of GPCQM Events seemed very excited about the prospects of financial spinoffs. According to him, they exceed the costs, though not disclosed.
Mr Arsenalt explained that UCI would have to pay a certain amount for the rights to exhibit the championships, but the final invoice would depend on the size that the various financial partners wanted to give to the event.
“Do we want to integrate culture and restaurants? What kind of openings do we want to showcase? What security expansion do we want?” […] If our application is successful a lot of variables may change by 2026, but I can tell you that the return on investment does not match, ”he said.
The costs of organizing the World Championships, however, are not comparable to the costs of hosting FIFA World Cup matches. Keep in mind that Montreal withdrew its candidacy for the event due to high costs at the beginning of the month.
“We are not really in the same spectrum,” said Sebastian Arsenalt, who, however, denied withdrawing Montreal’s candidacy in this file.
“I’m one of those people who believes a city lives by its cultural and sporting programs. If there’s a city that understands this well, it’s Montreal.
Fifty years after the planet’s welcome to the Olympic Games in 1976, the World Cycling Championships in 2026 represent a great opportunity for Montreal to showcase itself on the world of sports.
“There is no stadium to build because we are using existing infrastructure. So we have to make sure the roads are in good condition.”