Brian Cookson: No cases of heat exhaustion at the World Championships

UCI president Brian Cookson defended the choice of Doha as host for the World Road Championships, saying despite apparent evidence to the contrary there had been no cases of heat-stroke so far.

“We have not had any cases of heat exhaustion or heat stroke, as I’ve been advised by the medical team. We’ve had plenty of cases of exhaustion, plenty of cases of riders being extremely fatigued, which you get at any World Championships, but no actual cases of heat exhaustion, so I’m advised by our medical team,” Cookson said.

Videos and photos published in the media showed riders looking very distressed in the heat in recent days. The worst case was that of Norwegian rider Iver Knotten who collapsed at the roadside during the junior road race on Friday. Norway coach Kai Lexberg told that Knotten’s case “was simply a heat collapse”.

“We have a contingency plan in place but it is just that: a contingency plan. As at this moment in time, it doesn’t look like it will be needed. The full distance will be raced.”, saud Cookson.

“Some riders have said some positive things as well; we should bear that in mind. Obviously this is a part of the world where cycling is not an immediately popular sport, but I think we’ll see a good crowd on Sunday. It is what it is. We’re here.

“I don’t think we’re going to be in the Gulf every two or three years for the World Championships but let’s make an appraisal at the end of the week. We’ve got to bear in mind it’s not just about spectators on the ground, but about television images and the television audience as well.”