The 2017 World Championships in Bergen, Norway were widely hailed a roaring success, with staggering crowds, gripping racing and spectacular scenery combining to serve up a festival of cycling that seemed to do justice to the UCI’s flagship event. However, with the barriers dismantled and the paint washed off the roads, the party atmosphere has made way for a more sober picture of bills, debt and the looming threat of bankruptcy.
Event manager Helge Stormoen confirmed to Cyclingnews that the organising body ended up spending significantly more than they budgeted. “We are definitely going to be in the red,” he said, explaining that it will take two to three weeks for the full extent of the damage to become clear.
While Stormoen and his colleagues are considering going to the Norwegian government for rescue funds, with bankruptcy now a very real prospect facing the Norwegian Cycling Federation, they have been handed a lifeline of a more surprising variety: crowdfunding.
Kristin Solhaug, a cycling fan from Askoy who attended the Worlds, came up with the idea, highlighting the value the tens of thousands of fans derived from what was a free event. “We were treated to an unmatched event, a glorious thing,” she told NRK. “I think there are many like me who would like to give a little back.”
She wasn’t wrong. Since the launch of the campaign – on an app-based platform called Vipps – on Tuesday morning, no less than 3.5 million Norwegian Kroner (NOK), the equivalent of €375,000, has been raised.
“This is an incredible story,” says Stormoen. “It shows that the public enjoyed fantastic moments and that the championships really did something for the people of Bergen.”
Where did the money go?
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