UCI Road World Championships provide both chance and challenge for Richmond businesses

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Richmond is gearing up for a massive September bike event. (PHOTO: Jonathan Spiers)

RICHMOND, Va. — When the UCI Road World Championships comes to town, will Richmond be open for business? Depends on who you ask. If you talk to the folks at Richmond 2015, the group promoting and coordinating the Road World Championships for Union Cycliste Internationale, the answer is a resounding “yes.”

“Downtown is open for business. We cannot stress that enough,” said Monica Callahan, the group’s community engagement director.

That’s been the message emphasized by Callahan in a series of meetings with businesses and the public that continues through next week at locations across the area.

Sponsors of the event – described as the pinnacle event put on by UCI – have similar responses. Dominion Resources, WestRock Co. (formerly MeadWestvaco), McGuireWoods and others say business won’t be altered by the races, which are set to take place Sept. 19-27.

“We are going to have business as usual,” Dominion Vice President Roy Grier told a gathering in June. “We have 2,500 employees in three locations who will be coming to work during their normal times – not telecommuting.

“This is a very accessible event. It’s not going to be a logjam,” Grier said. “We’re doing everything we can to encourage people to be downtown, to come see the race, come to work, and keep things as normal as possible.”

But food cart veteran Chris Zechini wouldn’t use “normal” to describe the effects of the event, which will significantly restrict access to parts of downtown.

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