January 29 - The cyclo-cross World Championships will take place for the first time in the United States in 2013, organisers revealed today.

The Board of the International Cycling Union (UCI), meeting in Tabor in the Czech Republic, awarded the event to the city of Louisville, Kentucky, which is the home town of boxing great Muhammad Ali.

UCI President Pat McQuaid claimed the decision demonstrates the governing body’s strategy to globalises cycling.

The races will be held at a permanent cyclo-cross venue in Eva Bandman Park, near the centre of Louisville.

The decision is a reward for Joan Hanscom and Bruce Fina, who organise the United States Grand Prix (USGP) in Louisville.

Fina said: "This is thrilling news.

"We’ve been working for six years with the US Cycling National Team and six years on the USGP to further develop the sport in the US to the point where our riders can be competitive on a global scale.

"Hosting the worlds in the US is the next logical step."

Cyclo-cross takes place on multi-terrain courses and blends mountain biking with cross-country running, obliging competitors to dismount and carry their bikes during certain sections of each race.

It is not currently an Olympic discipline but is hugely popular in Europe.

McQuaid said: "For the first time since this event was established some 60 years ago, the cyclo-cross World Championships will take place in the United States, where the discipline is currently experiencing very strong growth.

"We are extremely happy with the award of this event as it is a clear illustration of the UCI’s strategy to globalise cycle sport.

"I would like to congratulate the promoters of this initiative, as well as the city of Louisville, and wish them the best of luck with their work."

The World Championships are due to be held in Sankt Wendel, Germany, in 2011 and in Koksijde, Belgium, in 2012.

The 2010 World Championships in the discipline will take place here tomorrow and Sunday.

This year's World Junior Championships are set to occur in Glasgow.