(Reuters) - Imola's motor racing circuit will host a slimmed down World Road Cycling Championships later this month, the UCI announced on Wednesday.
The Italian track, which will stage its first F1 Grand Prix since 2006 later this year, was selected ahead of Peccioli (Italy), Alba Adriatica (Italy) and the Haute-Saône (France).
Aigle-Martigny in Switzerland was originally to host the Sept 20-27 event but organisers last month decided that the COVID-19 pandemic made it impossible given the country's restrictions on public gatherings and quarantine requirements.
The UCI has shortened the programme down to just the elite men's and women's individual TT and road races and it will be staged over four days starting on Sept. 24.
Races will start and finish at the famous Imola circuit in the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy near Bologna.
The men's road race will be extremely challenging with the 259.2km course featuring 5,000m of climbing. The women's race will be 144km with a 2,750m of ascent.
Both time trials will be on 32km circuit.
While sympathising with the Aigle-Martigny organising committee, UCI President David Lappartient said the switch to Italy was symbolic.
"In a country that suffered enormously from the COVID-19 pandemic but was able to confront it effectively and with courage, the staging of our leading annual event will, in its own way, be a sign of a return to normal in a region where the health situation is now under control," he said.
"I am convinced that the 2020 UCI Road World Championships in Imola will allow us all, despite the difficult current situation, to witness a great sporting festival."
Imola also hosted the UCI Road World Championships in 1968 and the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari has also witnessed several stage finishes in the Giro d'Italia.
(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Pritha Sarkar)