World Championships Opinion: A Star-Crossed Event

News & Results

10/9/2003| 0 comments
by David Cohen

World Championships Opinion: A Star-Crossed Event

The 2003 Hamilton Road World Cycling Championships have been star-crossed.

The 2003 Hamilton Road World Cycling Championships have been star-crossed. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /?>

 

First there was local opposition.  Business people and others objected to closing a large part of downtown <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /?>
Hamilton
to car traffic for the better part of a week.

 

Then there was the war in
Iraq
.  Who wants to make travel plans when the world?s major power is at war?

 

Then there was SARS.  It struck
Toronto
, which is about 65 kilometres from
Hamilton
(which was SARS-free).  If the war in
Iraq
didn?t discourage travel to this area, then SARS did.

 

Then the
U.S.
economy started to sag ? a discouragement travel abroad by Americans.

 

Then the Canadian dollar, which used to hover around 60 cents
U.S.
, started to rise.  Now it is well above 70 cents
U.S.
  Another discouragement?.

 

Then the government of
Ontario
decided to call an election last spring.  At least that was the persistent rumor for weeks on end.  But the polls were not propitious, and the government postponed the election ? to October 2, four days before the Championships.  Needless to say, this diverted considerable attention and energy away from the cycling in
Hamilton
.  (This time the election was held and the government lost, badly.)

 

And to top it off -- on November 10 Hamiltonians will go to the polls in a municipal election.

 

Then there was
Hamilton
?s bid for the Commonwealth Games in 2010.
Hamilton
and especially its only daily newspaper, the Spectator, are certainly behind the bid. It got tons of ink.  Not so, the Worlds.

 

Is it any wonder, then, that the grandstands and the spectator areas along the course have been a lot less than filled during the first two days of racing?  A race official said, when approached during the racing on Wednesday, that about 2,000 tickets had been sold for the day.

 

Of course, the crowds will surely be larger for the women?s and men?s elite road races on Saturday and Sunday ? but will it will be enough?

 

Also quite noticeable is the dearth of sponsorship ads on the fencing along the route.

 

The glorious weather and the terrific displays of riding put on by the young racers and the great organization by the Union Cycliste Internationale  ? all are making a very positive impression.

 

But one is left to wonder:  what could this event have been with a little better luck?

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