An additional 75,000 people packed into Stirling city centre during the three days of the Individual Time Trials (9-11 Aug) compared to the same days the previous week, while other spectators cheered on the athletes along the race routes in rural communities and dedicated fan zones.
On Friday (11 Aug), Stirling hosted 80,000 people with many cycling fans travelling from across the world, creating an unforgettable carnival atmosphere for the Men Elite and Junior Individual Time Trials.
Millions tuned in around the world for the thrilling events, with Stirling’s spectacular scenery, iconic attractions and beautiful rolling countryside taking centre stage in the summer sunshine.
With an event of this size and scale, inevitably there was some disruption for residents and businesses through road closures, and the event organisers and the Council would like to thank them again for their patience and support.
Stirling Council Leader, Cllr Chris Kane said: "We were proud to welcome the world to Stirling during the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships, and to attract an additional 75,000 visitors into the city centre over the three days of the Individual Time Trials is simply phenomenal.
“There was an electric atmosphere across Stirling as people from all corners of the world came together to cheer on the athletes and be inspired by the Power of the Bike. I will cherish those scenes forever.
“By successfully staging the biggest sporting event in Stirling's history we showed that we are an ambitious city and a natural host for large-scale events. A global TV audience were also shown why we are a must-visit destination through the coverage of our stunning scenery and iconic landmarks.
“Thank you to the athletes for thrilling and inspiring us, as well our residents, communities and businesses for their patience and support. I would also like to pay tribute to our staff and volunteers for going above and beyond to give us this opportunity that will deliver lasting economic and social benefits to the people of Stirling and Scotland.”
Numbers certainly exceeded our expectations
Initial feedback from businesses in the city centre has been hugely positive, with a number of businesses, including bars, cafes and restaurants, reporting an increase of over 50% increase in takings during the events.
Go Forth Stirling Project Director, Danielle McRorie-Smith said: “We were delighted to see so many visitors arrive in Stirling for the championships and the numbers certainly exceeded our expectations.
“Our data counters recorded significant increases in footfall and this was reflected in the feedback from the business community who reported substantial increases in sales.
“Wetherspoons, for example, told us their sales were up 50% last Friday compared to a usual Friday with similar increases for Gloria’s Café and cocktail bar Meraki.
“Meanwhile, the team at Cafe Aina were delighted to see increased sales throughout the championships and said Friday was among the five top days they’ve ever had for turnover.
“Other business owners talked about the real buzz there was around Stirling during the event and how much they enjoyed the friendly atmosphere as well as the rise in customers coming into their premises.”
Five fan zones were created in different parts of Stirling for visitors and locals to enjoy the Individual Time Trials - The Smiddy at Blair Drummond; the Gargunnock Inn; the Woodhouse in Kippen, King Street, in the city centre and City Park near the starting area of the Time Trials.
Ms McRorie-Smith added: “The LIVE fan zone in the city centre was a huge success. It was busy every day with people of all nationalities taking in the events on the big screen and kicking back on the deck chairs right in the heart of the action.
“This was a major investment for the city and traders said it really benefitted their businesses with many of the coffee shops in the area reporting their busiest days on record.”
As well as hosting the Individual Time Trials, three of the road races also passed through the Stirling area – the Elite Men, the Elite Women Race and the U23 Men – with local residents, communities and cycling fans showing their backing for the riders.
Stirling drew incredible crowds
Paul Bush OBE, 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships Chair, said: "The 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships have brought together around 8000 athletes from over 130 countries, in what has been an unprecedented celebration of cycling, with our host regions driving the success of the event across the country.
Hosting the Individual Time Trials and Elite road races, Stirling drew incredible crowds across the Championships, its stunning landscape providing a dramatic setting for the biggest events ever staged across the region.
“A huge amount of planning has gone into ensuring this was a great event for athletes, fans and local communities and we want to thank everyone, especially Stirling Council and people across the region for your support and allowing us to bring this global event to your region, inspiring new fans of the sport and showcasing Scotland in the best light to the millions watching around the world.”
Around 8000 athletes from over 130 countries took part in the competitions. Across Scotland, a preliminary estimate of 1 million spectators turned out to watch the festival of cycling, while millions more watched on from around the world. A total of 653 medals were awarded and 220 UCI Rainbow jerseys races have been raced as fans of all ages flocked to venues across the country to witness cycling history being made.