Nijmegen to host 2020 student cycling world championships


Cycling enthusiasts will have plenty to look forward to in 2020. The student cycling world championships will be held again in Nijmegen in 2020, following a successful edition in 2008.

It was officially announced last Friday that Nijmegen was selected to host the student cycling world championships. This announcement, however, did not come as a surprise to Joost van Wijngaarden. ‘We were the only city to submit a proposal, so we knew we were in.’

Van Wijngaarden is chair of the NSSR, the student organisation that helped Nijmegen win the bid. He wrote the proposal with the help of Nienke Vos (project leader at the HAN university of applied sciences) and Rob Cuppen (director of the Radboud Sports Centre). Doing so involved answering a ‘whole battery’ of questions from FISU, the international university sports federation. ‘Questions about accommodation and the course’, he says, ‘but also about weather conditions and safety.’ Van Wijngaarden travelled to Lausanne in October to present the proposal.

The event consists of eight races: a competition and a timed road trial for cyclists and a marathon and a cross-country race for mountain bikers. All of the races will be split into male and female components.

Costs and benefits

Van Wijngaarden isn’t surprised that Nijmegen was the only city to submit a proposal. ‘It takes a lot of time and money to organise an event like this, which isn’t something all cities are willing to invest in. Most cities wonder what the benefits will be.’

According to Wijngaarden, this question can’t be answered with a simple cost-benefit analysis. ‘It’s a week-long party’, he says. ‘And a great opportunity for Nijmegen to once again prove that it’s a student sports city. Several side events will also be organised to encourage children and older people to cycle as well. This is something that generates long-term benefits.’

Down to business

Rob Cuppen, who was director of the Sports Centre in 2008 as well, knows how much students can learn from organising a large-scale event like this. ‘That’s not a benefit you can express in monetary terms.’ For the Sports Centre, it’s important that the event generates sufficient support among students. ‘It has to come from them.’

The municipality, the university and the university of applied sciences have all pledged their support for the event, although concrete financial commitments have not yet been made. According to Cuppen, now is the time to get down to business and start organising. ‘We need to get the ball rolling now in order to secure enough financial support at an early stage.’

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