Held in the United States for only the second time in the history of the 94-year-old race, this year’s UCI Road World Championships is estimated to have drawn about 645,000 fans, far exceeding the projected numbers. It’s easy to see why, as the 2015 championships proved to be one of the most spectator-friendly cycling showdowns of the year.
Last weekend, the world’s top women and men cyclists competed on a ten mile circuit through the charming, historic streets of Richmond, Virginia, where viewers could watch the racers go by every 20 minutes. With live video streaming and commentating, food and beer at the Fan Zones, and the epic cobbled climbs of Libby Hill and 23rd Street, the event did not disappoint.
America showed it knows how to put on a bike race. Hopefully, we won’t have to wait another 30 years for it to return to home soil.
Read on to see how the cyclists fared in one of cycling’s most prestigious races. Then consult our car-free getaway guide to the best things to do in Richmond.
1. The women’s peloton hits the cobbles of Libby Hill.
3. Despite a threatening sky, the elite women’s road race went off without so much as a drop of rain.
5. Last year’s champion, France’s Pauline Ferrand-Prévot, and this year’s winner, UK’s Lizzie Armistead fight for position on the 23rd Street wall.
6. A display of Spanish legs, moments before the race begins at the University of Richmond.
7. Slovakia’s Peter Sagan stays composed as the peloton crests the 23rd Street wall.
8. An early break included Virginia native Ben King.
9. Fans could get close to the action as the riders did 16 laps of the course in Richmond.
10. Patriotic spectators reveling in the cycling spirit at Richmond 2015.
11. A cacophony of cheers and cowbells melds with a kaleidoscope of international colors on Libby Hill.
12. The peloton snakes its way around sharp turns through historic Church Hill.
13. Tour de France winner Vincenzo Nibali and three-time world time trial champion Tony Martin head up 23rd Street, with grades of over 16%.
14. Team soigneurs line up to hand off fresh water bottles and bars just after Libby Hill.
15. American cyclist Lawson Craddock storming up the cobbles.
16. The peloton whips around a turn, approaching the final climb.
17. Team USA and others, exhausted after more than 6 hours and 160 miles of riding.
18. Last year’s world champion, Poland’s Michal Kwiatkowski in a quiet moment after the finish.
19. Newly crowned world champion Peter Sagan strikes an unusual pose, celebrating on the podium with his teammates.
20. The bike that won the race.
Photos: Vincent Crossley, co-founder of Bidons Not Bottles