Exactly 100 days since the conclusion of the first-ever combined UCI cycling world championships in Scotland and Trudy Lindblade has just about got her breath back. The Australian was no stranger to organising major events when she agreed to fly halfway across the world to take on the role of chief executive but this was something that presented her with two unique challenges.

Firstly, Lindblade and her team would have to begin the process constrained by the restrictions arising from a global pandemic. Secondly, there was no blueprint for what they were trying to do, with 13 cycling disciplines coming together for the first time to compete in the same place at the same time. Every day was a school day on this project.

When 11 days of high-calibre cycling subsequently unfolded across Scotland this summer without any significant hiccups, it provided as much relief as satisfaction come its conclusion.

“It was the most complex event I’ve ever worked on but I’m so proud of what we collectively delivered with UCI and the people of Scotland to create something that had never been done before,” reflects Lindblade.

“We secured the event in 2018 and delivered it in 2023 and that’s not a long runway for a major event. Add to that the fact it had never been done before to the backdrop of a pandemic, cost of living crisis, rising inflation, conflict in Europe and the implementation of Brexit that came into play – you name it, we had to deal with it.

“That was one of the reasons I moved to Scotland and I’m so glad that I did when I saw how both the locals and the international visitors embraced it. It was just 11 days of pure excitement and passion.

“If you ask me, ‘was this event a success?’ then I would say, ‘absolutely’. You don’t always tick every box and we like to talk authentically. But in terms of broadcasting, volunteer engagement, civic pride and so many other aspects, it all came through and you felt that at every event.”

Alongside the pressures of pulling together an event that would appease UCI [world cycling’s governing body] and its elite riders, the organisers also had targets of their own to meet.

“The social impact side was just as critical for us from the beginning,” revealed Lindblade, who will finish up in her post later this year before taking up a new role with Cricket Scotland. “We focused on three main areas: participation, sustainability and EDI [equality, diversion and inclusion].

“There was funding made available from the Scottish Government through the Cycling Facilities Fund which meant we were able to put back into the communities. A good example is the West Lothian Cycle Circuit. It’s a safe spot to cycle and a wonderful facility and that wouldn’t have happened without our event. And there are lots of smaller things like that, that we’ll see the benefits of later.

“EDI was also something we really championed from the beginning and embedded throughout the organisation. It was ambitious but we worked hard and had really passionate people involved. And we won two Herald diversity awards which we were very proud of.”

Glasgow was the hub for these championships but events were held across the country, from mountain bike downhill in Fort William and cross-country at Glentress Forest near Peebles.

“There are two things that make me particularly proud,” adds Lindblade, who recently ticked off the third anniversary of her life-changing move from Melbourne to Glasgow. “One is the way that we integrated the track and para-track. It was “track cycling at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome”, not para-track and able bodied-track cycling. It was all together. It didn’t matter to the audience who was racing, everyone got the same reception, and I know the para-athletes were absolutely chuffed by that.

“I’ve also got this really great image featuring two photos side by side – one of the elite men’s race and the other the elite women’s race, both with the winner crossing the line. And apart from the jersey, you can’t tell the difference in terms of what’s going on in both. And that’s fantastic and shows the strength of women’s sport.

“Our call to put the women’s race on the last day was the right one to again support that EDI aspect that we wanted to demonstrate. So, those are two really special moments for me.”

The various cycling disciplines will go their own way for the next three years before the next “super worlds” takes place in Haute-Savoie, France in 2027 where they will host 19 world championships. What advice would Lindblade give the organisers from her own experiences?

“I would tell them to start planning now if they haven’t already,” she says. “They’re hosting more championships than us so I’d say to plan early but also acknowledge what you can or can’t do.

“You can’t be everything to everyone. It’s a big, complicated event and you’re not in a venue that has a gate and four walls. That’s the beauty of cycling but also one of the challenges. But we’ve left them a strong foundation to build upon.”