As the World Road Race Championships kick off today in Copenhagen, I find myself in the unusual position of still being at home. Pressure of work and flight schedules mean that I’ll be watching only the Road Races and not the Individual Time Trials. Of course, the latter are often much easier races to predict than the former. However, I cannot pretend to know enough about the juniors, ladies or even the U23s to even think about making any sort of prediction. Of course, this won’t hold me back in the Men’s Races. However, before turning our attention to this year’s races, let’s have a quick look at a few historical facts and figures, some of which feature this year’s location:-
The first Cycling Championships took place in 1927 at the Nuerburgring in Germany and was won by Alfredo Binda, of Italy.
Belgium has the most wins per country with 25 victories from 17 different riders followed by Italy (19 wins), France (8 wins),
Netherlands (7 wins) and Spain (5 wins).
Only five cyclists have successfully defended their title (three Belgians and two Italians): Georges Ronsse (Belgium, 1928–29); Rik Van
Steenbergen (Belgium, 1956–57); Rik van Looy (Belgium, 1960–61); Gianni Bugno (Italy, 1991–92); Paolo Bettini (Italy, 2006–07).
3 wins: Alfredo Binda (Ita), Rik Van Steenbergen (Bel), Eddy Merckx (Bel), Oscar Freire (Spa)
2 wins: Georges Ronsse (Bel), Briek Schotte (Bel), Rik Van Looy (Bel), Freddy Maertens (Bel), Greg Lemond (USA), Gianni Bugno (Ita),
Paolo Bettini (Ita)