The 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships are coming to Scotland and we’ve got all the information you need to make the most of it, from how to watch, when to buy tickets, and where the mountain bike events are taking place.
Downhill, cross-country, marathon – Glasgow ’23 has a whole load of mountain biking going on, not to mention BMX, track and road cycling if that also tickles your fancy. It’s an amazing opportunity to watch some of the world’s best riders in a whole range of disciplines over a ten-day period, plus all the spectator opportunities and peripheral events that will be going on.
We’ll be keeping this page updated with the latest news and information as we get closer to the event, so you’ll be able to find out things like how to get spectator tickets, how to watch and follow the coverage, who’s going to be racing, the medal contenders to watch out for, and what else is going on that you can get involved in.
What happens at the Cycling World Championships, and why is it important?
The World Championships are a chance for riders to race for personal glory and national pride. Riders are selected to represent their country for this winner-takes-all event and, with just one shot at the chance to pull on the coveted World Champion rainbow jersey, you can expect the racing to be as good as it gets.
World Championships are always special but this year they will be even more so. Nearly all disciplines of cycling – BMX, Road, Trials, Track, Para cycling and Mountain Biking – will take place at the same World Champs venue at the same time, making this the biggest cycling event ever.
And, if you’re based in the UK all this will be happening right on your doorstep! Scotland will be playing host with Glasgow acting as the centre point.
When is the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships?
Things kick off on the 3rd August and run through to the 13th August. For mountain bikers the key dates are:
- 3-5th August for the Downhill World Championships
- 6-12th for the Cross-Country & Marathon World Championships
Where are the Cycling World Championships 2023?
Although Glasgow will be the hub for the World Champs, the racing is spread across Scotland. For mountain bikers the two key venues are Glentress Forest, just south of Edinburgh, for the Cross-Country and Cross-Country Marathon events and Fort William in the Highlands for the Downhill.
How do I get tickets for the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships?
The Downhill and Cross Country events are both ticketed events but the Cross-Country Marathon is free to attend.
Tickets are on sale now, and while some events have already sold out, there are plenty still available.
How can I watch the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships?
If you can’t make it to Scotland to watch the racing, then you can still catch the action on-screen.
For UK viewers the BBC have the rights to broadcast the entire event, so you can watch the racing from the comfort of the sofa. In fact with coverage online and through social media you’ll be able to watch it from pretty much anywhere.
For race fans outside the UK, flosports.com will be providing live online coverage.
Mountain Bike Disciplines
While there’s going to be a whole lot of cycling going on, we’re obviously going to focus on the main mountain bike disciplines here.
2023 Downhill World Championships
Downhill is the easiest disciple to follow, especially for World Champs. Riders have one qualifying run then one race run. Fastest to the finish line takes all. With everything to play for expect to see riders pushing themselves right to the edge – and beyond – to take the title.
Fort William is one of the oldest and best regarded venues on the downhill race circuit. The brutal track takes no prisoners and at nearly three kilometres long, to win here takes strength, skill and strategy. What really makes it special though is the fans – when it comes to showing support for every rider that comes down the hill no one does it better than the Nevis Range crowd.
Fort William is a near permanent fixture on the World Cup calendar but the last time the World Champs visited the Highlands was back in 2007. Back then it was Sam Hill and Sabrina Jonnier who took the honours in the elite races. For the fans at the Fort though the biggest result was local lad Ruaridh Cunningham bagging the junior gold medal.
Nevis Range Mountain Resort, Fort William, PH33 6SQ
Things kick off with qualifying on the 3rd August and culminate with elite finals on the 5th August.
- Junior Qualifying: Thursday 3 August
- Junior Finals: Friday 4 August
- Elite Qualifying: Friday 4 August
- Elite Finals: Saturday 5 August
Who to watch out for
With a full season of racing still to come it’s hard to say who will make the cut to represent their country. Barring a mishap or injury we’d expect to see Brits Matt Walker, Laurie Greenland and Jordan Williams throw their hats in the ring for the men’s elite race. They won’t have it easy though. The French are on a roll at the moment and with Loic Bruni, Loris Vergier and Amaury Pierron all able to turn it on for the big day it’d be hard to bet against them.
In the women’s elite we’d love to see Tahnée Seagrave back in the game for Team GB. She’ll have to contend with reigning champ, Austrian Vali Höll as well as the likes of France’s Myriam Nicole and Camille Balanche, Germany’s Nina Hoffmann and New Zealand’s Jess Blewitt. There’ll also be a strong show of support for local woman Mikayla Parton. With so many contenders it’s bound to make for some seat-of-your-pants viewing.
Cross-Country Mountain Bike World Championships
Cross-Country is divided into four sub-disciples, all differing slightly but all promising some tight racing to get the blood pumping on both sides of the race tape.
- Cross-Country Olympic (XCO) – The first rider to complete a set amount of laps wins, with a race taking about an hour and a half.
- Cross-Country Short Track (XCC) – The same concept as XCO but on a shorter track with races taking about 20 mins.
- Cross-Country Team Relay (XCR) – Teams of six riders take it in turns to lap the course, fastest team wins.
- Electric Mountain Bike (E-MTB) – Similar to XCO but with riders on e-bikes.
Racing takes place at Glentress Forest. Yup that’s right, the UK’s best loved trail centre is going to be hosting some of the world’s fastest riders.
This isn’t the first time elite-level racing has descended on the Tweed Valley though. Regular appearances on the Enduro World Series calendar, as well as countless national level events, mean that this area of Scotland is used to putting on a top-tier event. Key to this of course is the trail network. With every kind of trail you can imagine crammed along the length of the valley it’s no surprise so many races are hosted here.
Details of the course are yet to be released but we’re looking forward to seeing some fresh trails and some of the existing trails being blended together to create a mega challenging course.
This should also mean that it will be easy to access for spectators with the café and parking.
Glentress Forest, Peebles, EH45 8NB
Cross-Country Short Track
- Qualifying: Tuesday 8 August
- Finals: Thursday 10 August
- Juniors: Thursday 10 August
- U23s: Friday 11 August
- Elite: Saturday 12 August
E-MTB Cross-Country: Wednesday 9 August
Cross-Country Team Relay: Wednesday 9 August
Who to watch out for
With a knack for turning up at any race in any discipline and making everyone else look like amateurs, all eyes will be on Brit Tom Pidcock for the men’s elite. But who would bet against current champ Nino Schurter from Switzerland? Well, Spaniard David Valero Serrano and young gun Alan Hatherly from South Africa to name two.
Team GB is stacked full of talent in the women’s elite with Evie Richards, Annie Last and Harriet Harnden all in contention for a medal. They won’t have it easy though. Pauline Ferrand Prevot from France never fails to impress and the Swiss duo of Alessandra Keller and Jolanda Neff are always worth keeping an eye on.
Cross-Country Marathon World Championships
Cross-Country Marathon differs from regular Cross-Country in a couple of ways. Firstly, it’s one lap of a much longer course. At between 60-150 km long this is a race to really test riders’ endurance. Secondly, it’s a mass start and mass participation event – like the London Marathon. As well as a hundred or so pro racers thousands of amateurs will also be taking part, making it the most inclusive of the World Championship races.
Like the other Cross-Country events the Marathon starts and ends near Glentress Forest. We’re still waiting to see what the course will look like but given its length expect it to break out of the forest and make its way across the hills of the Scottish Borders. Along the way it could incorporate some of the tamer trails that have seen action as part of the Enduro World Series, or some of the classic tracks over the hill near Selkirk – a town well known for its mountain bike marathon events.
Address: Glentress Forest, Peebles, EH45 8NB and surrounding areas
The Cross-Country Marathon race takes place on Sunday 6th August.
Who to watch out for
The great thing about Marathon events is that anyone can enter, so expect to see your favourite XC racers lining up against Marathon specialists like and then a couple of thousand amateurs in hot pursuit. Will it make for a surprise winner? Anything could happen.
Annie Last is Britain’s best hope in the women’s elite race, but France’s Pauline Ferrand Prevot, as ever, is the rider to watch here. In the men’s elite, current champ Sam Gaze from New Zealand will be trying to keep Germans Andreas Seewald, Martin Frey and Sascha Weber at bay.