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Cyclist raises alarm over "dangerous" potholes on 2023 World Championships road race routes

Pictures from the Scottish roads to be used for the elite men and women's road races paint a concerning picture six months out from the showpiece event...

With six months until the best cyclists in the world descend on Glasgow for the UCI World Championships, concerns have been raised about the "dangerous" state of some roads to be used in the elite men and women's road races.

Pictures taken by a road.cc reader show numerous large potholes and patched sections of tarmac, with Glasgow cyclist Liam McReanan suggesting the event "may be remembered for all the wrong reasons" unless something is done to improve the surface ahead of August.

2023 World Championships Glasgow road race potholes (Liam McReanan)
2023 World Championships Glasgow road race potholes (Liam McReanan)

Tagging UCI president David Lappartient in a social media post, the local rider said the "UK has some of the worst roads in Western Europe and the roads around Glasgow are some of the worst in the UK."

"These roads have been like this for years, decades," he explained. "Kilometre after kilometre, the whole course is like this. Very dangerous in a peloton. Is there enough time and money to fix them?"

2023 World Championships Glasgow road race potholes (Liam McReanan)
2023 World Championships Glasgow road race potholes (Liam McReanan)

While responsibility for maintaining roads will fall to cash-strapped councils — already suffering shortfalls of between £7 million and £120 million, according to the BBC — road.cc contacted the UCI to ask if they are aware of planned road improvements ahead of the event in early August.

We were told the pictures and concerns would be passed on to the Local Organising Committee "responsible for ensuring safe conditions at their event and for following the UCI regulations".

"Please know that the safety of cyclists is an absolute priority for the UCI and we work with all stakeholders of professional road cycling towards the common objective of delivering safe race conditions," a UCI spokesperson insisted.

2023 World Championships Glasgow road race potholes (Liam McReanan)

This summer's UCI Cycling World Championships will be the first time all disciplines' annual championships are held in one location at the same time and has been marketed as "the biggest cycling event ever" by the sport's governing body.

The men's elite road race will be held on Sunday 6 August and takes the riders from Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh to the finishing circuit in Glasgow, while the elite women's race a week later (Sunday 13 August) starts at Loch Lomond.

The U23 men will race the same route as the elite women a day earlier (Saturday 12 August), with the junior races to be held entirely on the Glasgow circuit on Saturday 5 August.

> Is there a pothole crisis on Britain's roads?

Concerning pictures of potholes on the routes come as elsewhere in Scotland, along the famous North Coast 500 route, a cyclist was left with long-term injuries after hitting a pothole while trying to avoid an oncoming vehicle.

Politicians have reportedly been warned of fatalities if crumbling roads in parts of the north of Scotland are not urgently repaired. In one area, Caithness, Highland councillors confirmed that the authority can only afford to fix 13 of every 200.

"We're now facing almost complete collapse of the infrastructure," former area police commander Iain Gregory said. "Roads, infrastructure and people's lives are being disrupted.

"Things are very, very serious. Yes, there have been accidents. Yes, people have been injured. So far, thank goodness, we haven't had a tragedy. But I fear that unless action is taken very, very quickly, that is exactly what's going to happen."

> "Same question every winter": Cyclists slam "disgraceful" state of Britain's pothole-covered roads

Meanwhile, police issued safety warnings after six pedestrians were killed on Scotland's roads in just 13 days. 

Police Scotland even claimed pedestrians should be wearing hi-vis or fluorescent clothing during winter months, attracting accusations of victim blaming.

"Pedestrians are considered vulnerable road users and, in winter, particularly when it is dark, pedestrians should wear reflective or fluorescent clothing," Chief Inspector Lorraine Napier said. "I would also urge pedestrians to be mindful of their surroundings and to ensure they are not putting themselves at risk."

The warning was followed by asking motorists to "drive with particular care in areas where people may be on foot or crossing roads and ensure the correct vehicle lights are in operation, free from defect and clean, particularly if the vehicle has automated lights".

Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.

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9 comments

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Robert m | 7 months ago
1 like

It is now 1 month to the elite road race and the roads along the route are still in a disgraceful state. I've ridden the Denny to Lennoxtown section over the Crow Road and the stretch along the Carron Reservoir is especially bad, with tons of bumpy patches, potholes and deep ruts. It's bad enough for a single rider or small group but utterly unsuitable for a peleton of elite riders flying along at speed. As far as I know the council (Stirling) is not planning to do anything.
Well, this does it's best to showcase Scotland to the world in a brutally honest way, a beautiful country with great cycle potential, marred by dreadful roads.

Avatar
caadphile | 1 year ago
2 likes

My local roads! They've gifted me 3 punctures in the last month but maybe that's my fault for not going tubeless. The roads around here are pish but to be fair to the organisers I'm sure they'll be going along the route and seeing to the worst of the craters. The 2018 time trial route in Glasgow got a sprucing up in the months running up to the event and I'd imagine they'll be doing the same this time too. 

Avatar
AlanMyles | 1 year ago
3 likes

And that is just part of it. My pannier containing my laptop ejected from my bike of the route on Monday and the permanent flood on the Torrance road would be illegal in cyclo-cross never mind road racing.
https://twitter.com/AlanMyles8/status/1624002685476171778?t=1MEI9_75ABAS...

https://twitter.com/AlanMyles8/status/1624003404480630784?t=3W8EIj4nRKA_...

Avatar
Rezis | 1 year ago
7 likes

The UCI Gravel Champs took place on a better surface... Someone might actually need a gravel bike here.

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ChuckSneed | 1 year ago
2 likes

Welcome to Scotland! This course will separate the boys from the men

Avatar
Paul J | 1 year ago
1 like

The World Championship route is going to take them down the Crow Rd - down the descent pictured where you can see the Glasgow in the background. There is a pretty technical set of high-speed, narrowish, bends at the end of that descent as you get to the Campsie golf course.

Going to be interesting watching the breakaway and chasers, and other committed riders, going through those. Could catch someone out.

Avatar
chrisonabike | 1 year ago
3 likes

Starting humblebrag but I cover worse within a mile of my flat in Edinburgh. (currently visiting the South or I'd take the phone out at lunch to prove it...)

Avatar
aitorbk replied to chrisonabike | 1 year ago
3 likes

I live in Edinburgh.. almost everywhere it is like that, and there are constant potholes everywhere.. 

 

Avatar
Paul J | 1 year ago
1 like

That's the Crow road, north of Glasgow. That's always got lots of new potholes after the winter. Usually the council(s) just put some crappy patches on them once it gets warmer, and then maybe chip seal a length of it - which means avoiding the Crow for a while, otherwise your paint will be ruined by chips and tar.

Worth noting there are 2 different councils involved here, East Dunbartonshire for the south side and Stirling Council for the north side.

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