The great day has come. With the official presentation of the 2020 UCI Road World Championships in Imola – Emilia Romagna: the curtain raises on the rainbow-striped event. In the splendid context of Palazzo Varignana in Castel San Pietro Terme (Bologna), the beginning of this short yet intense adventure, which brings here the best professional riders, has been cheered. From tomorrow to Sunday, these athletes will fight to achieve the most coveted title of the season.
The President of Region Emilia Romagna, Mr. Stefano Bonaccini, has welcome the audience underlying the vocation of this region for the bike and cycling – a region that has given birth to some great riders. “Here, people ride their bike twice as many times, i.e., 10%, in comparison to the national average 5%, and 1,400 kilometres of cycle paths. It’s a green mobility on which we have invested over 30 million euros. Hosting this edition of the UCI Road World Championships makes us extremely proud. Even more so, because we do it thanks to the candidature of Imola, that has successfully gotten the assignment because of its accomodation services, the beauty of the route and, mostly, the guarantees regarding the anti-Covid measures that our territory is capable of enforcing. It is a result we have achieved with determination together with the local authorities, aiming at one goal: to turn it into a great edition, in the spirit of the most authentic racing values and safety. A prestigious event that further reinforces the major role played by Emilia Romagna in the sporting sector. These weeks, besides the UCI Road World Championships, we have hosted two MotoGP races in Misano Adriatico, and the Formula 1 Grand Prix will take place in Imola. They are all international events that limelight this wonderful region and its excellencies. Sport means commitment, sacrifice, tenacity, but also trust in the future and willingness to recover. I think this is the best wish we can address to our athletes and to all of us in this difficult year”.
The President of the FCI (Italian Cycling Federation), Mr. Renato Di Rocco has explained: “The Italian Cycling Federation is proud to host the 2020 UCI Road World Championships. This pride comes from being aware that we have given the best responses in the most difficult time. The entire country has committed itself in an effort that has enabled it to design an “Italian way” to recovering our daily life. The assignment of the World Championships to Imola is a deserved acknowledgement of this work. The World Championships are back to Imola after 52 years. Let me thank the UCI because they have immediately understood the validity of Imola’s candidature, Region Emilia Romagna headed by its President Mr. Bonaccini that has believed in the validity of cycling as a means of tourist promotion, and the Organising Committee that have immediately accepted our invitation and have taken up this challenge. Being here today to inaugurate the opening of an event that appeared to be insane 20 days ago makes me proud, both as the President of one of the oldest and most winning Federations in our country and as an Italian citizen”.
A praise for the enterpreneurship that has been shown by the Italian movement was also expresses by the President of the UCI, Mr. David Lappartient: “These 2020 UCI Road World Championships in Imola – Emilia Romagna are a symbol of Italy’s renaissance, a country that was harshly hit by Covid-19 at the beginning of the health crisis. Like the UCI WorldTour and the UCI Women’s WorldTour, which restarted at the beginning of August with the Strade Bianche in Siena, these World Championships back to Italy, seven years after Florence, are a sign of hope for the country and the whole world. The selective time trials and the women and men’s road races are going to be magnificent events to achieve the renowned rainbow-striped jersey. I wish to thank Aigle-Martigny for the hard work provided for 2 years. I now want to greet the Organising Committee, the town of Imola, Region Emilia-Romagna, the Italian Cycling Federation, the partners and the volunteers for their unwavering commitment to prepare these Championships in record time and respecting the health of the riders and all the participants. In Imola, cycling has proved back on track once again, for the joy of the enthusiasts of our sport”.
Mr. Marco Pavarini, the President of the Organising Committee of Imola2020 has thanked all the prominent speakers and has shown his emotion for this event that has been organised by the men and women of his staff in super short time: “Adorni’s victory in 1968 has always been legendary for all the inhabitants of Emilia-Romagna like me. That is why, the day we learned that the Region wanted to submit Imola’s candidature in extremis to organise an exceptional and extraordinary World Championships, given the current times, we startled out of pride. That is how this memorable adventure has come to light: an idea that flows downstream and turns into a great event, a celebration of sport and the willingness of this region to restart from the bicycle – its beating heart. I share the honour and duty with Marco Selleri, who has been the inspiration and the living soul of this organisation that has proved a true team. One of the most fascinating paradoxes of this event is to award prizes to the individual winners, while these World Championships are definitely a collective enterprise”.
The President of CON.AMI, Mr. Fabio Bacchilega has greeted the audience on behalf of the Consortium of 23 Municipalities, across 2 Regions and 3 Provinces, which he represents. “CON.AMI has seen how important this international appointment is and has invested, by a unanimous decision made by the 23 Municipalities forming the Consortium, in the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, a venue owned by the Town of Imola that entrusted CON.AMI to manage it through ‘Formula Imola’, a subsidiary company. It’s a strategic investment for a sporting event that gives a great opportunity for tourist promotion across our entire territory, from the cultural, artistic, food-and-wine points of view, including the immediate economic spillover for the local accomodation venues. It’s a chance to let the CON.AMI territory be known worldwide, by drawing the attention of hundreds of million people following the 2020 UCI Road World Championships, a great sport event”.
The Executive President of Hera Mr. Tomaso Tommasi di Vignano has explained why the Group has decided to support the World Championships project as Main Sponsor of the Organising Committee: “It’s the first time that our Group is sponsoring a sporting event of such a level and we are proud that it will take place in one of the territories that have allowed our company to be born. In a context such as the Autodrome, this event cannot but get some added value. The roads, where the race will unfold, are the same we travel every day to deliver our services to citizens and enterprises. We are aware of the importance of what we provide to the community with our commitment and dedication, in the same way the great champions, whom we’ll see racing, will fight on the hard climbs offering great entertainment. Our work is mostly invisible, but we try to perform it at best. And also in this occasion, we’ll work like we always do day in day out, upgrading our services to meet the numerous enthusiasts at best and contribute to the sustainability of this important event”.
Mrs. Veronica Squinzi CEO of Mapei has recalled the link between her family and the company she represents, a company that, since 2008, has been by the side of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI): “Mapei is delighted that, this year, the UCI Road World Championships will take place in Italy, a country that has a great cycling tradition, which Mapei shares. The participation of Mapei as Main UCI Sponsor confirms the strong bond of our company with this sport that we have always supported. We also share its values, which are inherent in the company’s DNA as well as in the DNA of our family. We wish that this can be an occasion for Italy and for sports to restart in this difficult time”.
As a closure, the floor has been given to Mr. Marco Panieri, the newly elected Mayor of the town of Imola, on his first official public event: “The return of the UCI Road World Championships to Imola 52 years after Vittorio Adorni’s victory fills us with pride and is a great opportunity for our town, for Emilia-Romagna and, if I may say so, for our entire country. To organize in a matter of weeks an event of this magnitude, in a year where the Covid-19 emergency is being felt worldwide, is proof of great organizational skills and the strong, unrelenting passion of a whole town, a region and all the people that are involved in all the different aspects of the organization of the event itself: my heartfelt thanks go to all of them. This event is a great opportunity to promote a town which has many outstanding manufacturing, historical, cultural, touristic and food and wine features that will be given a chance to benefit from a unique international showcase, which will also impact the town’s economy. This event, by the way, fits in perfectly in a setting such as Imola where the bicycle is very much a part of daily life, both as a means of transportation and as a sport. Lastly, it gives an added value to Imola’s Enzo e Dino Ferrari Racetrack in terms of sustainable mobility by highlighting the versatility of this strategic asset, with an eye for this facility’s growth potential in the future. Imola’s warmest welcome goes to all the competing athletes, the organizers and the spectators”.
The world cycling is restarting from Italy, the cradle of the Renaissance. #Imola2020. The fastest UCI Road World Championships are ready to start.