The 2023 UCI World Championships Women’s Preview: A Historic Cycling Extravaganza

By Megan Flottorp

Coming off all the spectacular racing that defined the 2023 Tour de France Femmes, we are glad to be leaning into the excitement of the 2023 UCI World Championships, which kick off on August 3rd in Glasgow, Scotland. This year’s event is set to make history, as for the first time ever, all cycling disciplines will be presented together in what is being hailed as a ‘super event’.

The 10-day cycling celebration promises to be a thrilling experience for fans, athletes, and cycling enthusiasts alike, and we are here to tell you what you can look forward to from the women’s events.

A unified celebration of cycling

The 2023 UCI World Championships will be a momentous occasion for men’s and women’s cycling as all disciplines come together to compete for their world titles. With 13 world championships across seven disciplines, Glasgow will be buzzing with the action and drama that only the pinnacle of cycling competitions can provide. More than 200 rainbow jerseys, symbolising the title of world champion, will be awarded across these various events, highlighting the diversity and inclusivity of the sport.

The UCI World Championships features these disciplines:

Para-cycling Road
Para-cycling Track
MTB Cross-Country
MTB Downhill
MTB Marathon
BMX Racing
BMX Freestyle Park
BMX Freestyle Flatland
Indoor Cycling
Gran Fondo
So, let’s dig into some of the details!

Road cycling: A lot at stake

One of the most popular and anticipated disciplines in the UCI World Championships is road cycling. From August 5th to 13th, the world’s top road cyclists will vie for five elite world titles in Glasgow. The events include the men’s and women’s road races, men’s and women’s individual time trials, and the team time trial mixed relay.

All eyes will be on Dutch legend Annemiek van Vleuten, who will be looking to cap off her remarkable career with a stellar performance at the World Championships. Despite a slightly underwhelming performance at the Tour de France Femmes, van Vleuten has had a strong closing season, with victories at La Vuelta Femenina and the Giro Donne.

Competing alongside van Vleuten will be decorated veterans such as Marianne Vos and reigning European road race champion Lorena Wiebes. Demi Vollering, fresh off her Tour de France Femmes win, will also be a strong contender. Meanwhile, Belgian Lotte Kopecky, defending elimination race world champion on the track, will be among those hoping to deny van Vleuten a glorious swansong.

The women’s road race will commence west of Glasgow in Loch Lomond and merge with the men’s route near Crow Road, covering a total distance of 154.1km. After 60km, the field will enter Glasgow, where the women will complete six laps of a 14.3km city circuit. The time trials will start and finish in Stirling, featuring a short but steep climb up to Stirling Castle. The women’s time trial course is 36.2km long, while the men’s is 47.8km.

Mountain biking: Thrilling Cross-Country action

In the picturesque Glentress Forest, mountain biking enthusiasts will witness a week of thrilling cross-country action from August 6th to 12th. The mountain bike cross-country events include the short track, e-mountain bike cross-country, team relay, and Olympic races for juniors, U23s, and elites.

Defending UCI World Champion Pauline Ferrand-Prévot faces tough competition, with numerous riders capable of winning the title. Puck Pieterse of the Netherlands has been in superb form, winning three of the four 2023 UCI World Cup races and becoming the European Champion. Frenchwoman Loana Lecomte, who won the Lenzerheide round of the 2023 UCI World Cup, is also a strong contender.

Other riders to watch include Austria’s Laura Stigger and Mona Mitterwallner, Switzerland’s Jolanda Neff and Alessandra Keller, and British rider Evie Richards, the 2021 UCI World Champion.

Track cycling: An electric atmosphere

From August 3rd to 9th, the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome will be the battleground for track cycling’s elite events. Wildly spirited racing is guaranteed, with the host nation Great Britain expected to shine in the track cycling powerhouse.

In the sprint events, Germany’s Lea Friedrich will seek to regain her sprint world title from Mathilde Gros. The formidable German team, including Emma Hinze, will aim to sweep the women’s sprint races.

Britain’s Katie Archibald will lead the home team in the track endurance events, fresh off her three golds at the February European Championships. American Jennifer Valente, the reigning world and Olympic omnium champion, will be a strong competitor alongside Chloe Dygert, who has multiple individual and team world titles to her name.

BMX: Dynamic freestyling on Glasgow green

One of the most exciting and adrenaline-fueled disciplines at the 2023 UCI World Championships is BMX Freestyle. The world’s best BMX riders will showcase their skills and creativity on the ramps and obstacles at Glasgow Green, providing a thrilling spectacle for fans and spectators.

The women’s BMX Freestyle competition promises to be fierce, with talented riders from around the world vying for the title of world champion. Among the top contenders is 21-year-old reigning champion Hannah Roberts from the United States. As the most successful rider in the BMX Freestyle field, Roberts will be looking to claim her fifth rainbow jersey.

However, Roberts faces tough competition from the Chinese team, including Zhou Huimin, who has been a formidable force, securing victories in both Montpellier and Brussels World Cup events, where she defeated Roberts. Adding to the excitement is Great Britain’s very own Charlotte Worthington, the Olympic champion, who will be eager to showcase her skills on home soil. Switzerland’s Nikita Ducarroz, the Olympic bronze medalist, will also be a strong contender for the podium.

Let the Games begin!

Undoubtedly, the 2023 UCI World Championships in Glasgow will pack some epic performances and big surprises and mark an important moment in women’s cycling. This ‘super event’ really has what it takes to showcase the breadth and depth of the sport, and we can’t wait to see how it all goes down.

And while we focused on women’s road cycling, mountain biking, track cycling, and BMX freestyle, it’s essential to note that there is a myriad of other events to enjoy, each with its own set of passionate athletes vying for the prestigious rainbow jerseys! From the para-cycling road and track events to the Gran Fondo that allows amateur cyclists to challenge themselves on the same roads as the pros — the World Championships encompass a full spectrum of cycling disciplines.

With so much more action to take in across the various events, cycling enthusiasts are in for an exhilarating ride as they cheer on their favourite athletes and embrace the true spirit of this remarkable sport.

You can find the full schedule here.