Trivia: U.S.-Hosted World Cycling Championships

By Dave Campbell

This September the World Road Cycling Championships takes place, where riders represent their countries on a challenging circuit road course in pursuit of the treasured rainbow jersey. This year the event returns to the United States (Richmond, Virginia) for the first time in 29 years. In anticipation of this exciting and historic event, we look back at U.S.-hosted World Championships.

Q1. Contrary to popular belief, the 1986 Men’s and Women’s World Road and Track Championships (then held concurrently in late summer/early fall) in Colorado Springs, were not the first World Championships to be held in the U.S. What year did the U.S. host its first modern day World Championships and where?

Q2. What was the best result by the home country in that first modern era World Championships held on home soil?

Q3. Taking into account road, track, mountain and Juniors as well as Elites, how many previous World Championships have been held in the U.S.? More challenging: Can you name the years and host cities?

Q4. Arthur Zimmerman was the United States’ first World Champion, leading a dominating performance over a century ago when he triumphed in the Sprint and the 10 km Scratch Race in Chicago. Who was the first American rider to win a home World Championship in the modern era?

Q5. Who was the last rider to win at home during the World Cycling Championships in the U.S.?

Dave Campbell has been writing race trivia since 1992. He began racing in 1982 in Wyoming, moving to Oregon in 1987. After years of racing triathlons, he returned to his roots as a competitive cyclist, now racing in the Masters category. Dave is a high school science and health teacher and cross-country coach in Newport, Ore.


A1. In 1978 in Washington, D.C., the U.S. hosted the Junior (then only for men) World Championships.

[Editor’s note, Canada hosted the World Road Championships in 1974 in Montreal.]

A2. The host nation won its only medal on the final day of competition — a bronze medal in the 70 km Team Time Trial. The riders would all go on to international successes with the 7-Eleven and Levi’s/Raleigh teams, with three of the four riding in the Tour de France and one winning it. Keep in mind that in 1978, no American had ever ridden the Tour! Ron Kiefel, Greg Demgen, Jeff Bradley and Greg LeMond completed the course in 1:35:07, averaging nearly 27.5 mph behind USSR (1:33:00) and East Germany (1:31:03). Other high points were Mark Gorski (future Olympic gold medalist in Los Angeles in 1984) earning 5th place in the Match Sprint (held at the Lehigh County Velodrome (Trexlertown, Pa.) and LeMond’s 9th place in the Road Race.

A3. Surprisingly the country has hosted nine World Cycling Championships. The first-ever World Cycling Championships (track only then) was held in 1893 in Chicago, Ill. The U.S. hosted again in 1912 in Newark, NJ, then a big drought prior to the modern era — the 1978 Junior Road and Track Worlds presented in Washington, D.C.; the 1986 Elite Road and Track Worlds in Colorado Springs, Colo.; the 1990 inaugural Mountain Bike Worlds in Durango, Colo.; the 1991 Junior Road and Track World Championships in Colorado Springs, Colo.; the 2001 Junior Track World Championships in Trexlertown, Pa.; the 2001 Mountain Worlds in Vail, Colo., and finally the 2005 Elite Track World Championships in Los Angeles, Calif.

A4. Ned Overend and Julie Furtado, who both claimed cross-country titles in the 1990 Mountain Bike Worlds. Another American, Greg “Hairball” Herbold, won the Men’s Downhill title while Canadian Cindy Devine was crowned on the women’s side. In the more traditional road and track events, it was Jeff Evanshine who triumphed in the Junior Men’s Road Race in Colorado Springs in 1991.

A5. Both women and both over a decade ago! Alison Dunlap in the 2001 World Mountain Bike XC race in Vail, and Sarah Uhl in the 2001 Junior Women’s Match Sprint in Trexlertown, Pa. Not a single medal was won by U.S. riders at the 2005 Track Worlds in Los Angeles.

Editor’s note: For more information and to volunteer for the 2015 Road World Championships in Richmond, Virginia, on September 19-27, please visit

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