Here’s How the Coronavirus Is Impacting Pro Cycling

Jessica Coulon
·8 min read
Photo credit: Luc Claessen - Getty Images
Photo credit: Luc Claessen - Getty Images

From Bicycling

For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19, check resources like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) regularly. This story will be updated as new information becomes available.

As coronavirus continues to spread around the globe, pro cycling is ever increasingly feeling its effects.

The Union Cycliste Internacionale (UCI) has suspended all cycling events of all classifications on the calendar until at least June 1, and it will later communicate whether the events will be rescheduled.

“The international situation linked to the coronavirus has accelerated sharply recently, especially in Europe, which has pushed the authorities to take drastic measures that have a major impact on our sport in particular,” UCI president David Lappartient said. “Faced with this unprecedented and changing situation, we must adapt and take necessary measures to guarantee, as far as possible, the security of people at our events as well as sporting equity. With the strong decisions taken concerning the UCI International Calendar and the Olympic qualification procedure, we are providing the awaited answers for people in our sport. The challenges we face in light of the current situation require all members of the cycling family and of the Olympic movement to be innovative, strong and united.”

On March 12, USA Cycling released a statement saying that it is working on bringing all U.S. cyclists and team personnel back into the country from overseas. USA Cycling then announced three days later that all sanctioned races in the country are canceled through April 5—and on March 18, that date was extended to May 3.

One thing that remains on everyone’s minds—the 2020 Olympics, scheduled to run in Tokyo from July 24 to August 9. On Saturday, March 21, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced that it will decide within four weeks whether or not the Games will be postponed. On Monday, March 23, a veteran member of the IOC told USA TODAY that the Olympics will be postponed, likely to be held in 2021.

Here are some of the bigger races that have been impacted by the coronavirus so far.

Tour of Hainan

  • Scheduled date: February 23 to March 1

  • Status: Postponed

Part of UCI’s ProSeries, the Tour of Hainan was one of the first races to be postponed over coronavirus concerns. The decision was announced almost a month before the stage race was set to begin.

UAE Tour

  • Scheduled date: February 23 to 29

  • Status: Canceled

The race in Abu Dhabi was canceled two days early following stage 5 on February 27, after two Italian staff members were diagnosed with the coronavirus. This prompted a quarantine for all teams staying at the Crown Plaza hotel. Those who tested negative were able to leave, except for the three teams (who shared the same floor as those who were diagnosed): Cofidis, Groupama-FDJ, and Gazprom.

Six additional coronavirus cases were then discovered on March 3, in relation to the race. Following that development, the three teams were informed by the UCI that they must remain in quarantine until March 14.

On March 7, the Cofidis and Groupama-FDJ teams were released from quarantine, leaving just a few cyclists left under lockdown in the UAE.

Strade Bianche

  • Scheduled date: March 7

  • Status: Postponed

Race organizer RCS Sport announced on March 5 that it is postponing the Strade Bianche and the Strade Bianche Women Elite, which were set to take place on March 7 in Siena, Italy. RCS Sport has asked the UCI to reschedule both the men’s and women’s races, but no new dates are currently set.

Paris-Nice

  • Scheduled date: March 8 to March 15

  • Status: Final stage canceled

Paris-Nice hadn’t been canceled as of March 5, as confirmed by a statement from race organizer A.S.O. However, quite a few UCI WorldTeams will notably be absent, including Team Ineos, Astana, UAE Team Emirates, Mitchelton Scott, Jumbo-Visma, CCC Team, and Movistar. To offset these absences, A.S.O. extended invitations to ProTeams B&B Hotels-Vital Concept and Circus-Wanty Gobert. They also increased the team size from seven to eight riders.

From AFP:

Paris-Nice has been cut short because of the coronavirus pandemic, with Sunday’s final leg scrapped, organizers said on Friday, March 13. The race will be decided after Saturday’s mountain stage with a summit finish at La Colmiane in the Alpes-Maritimes region.

“It is a logical decision given the large crowds who would be expected at the final stage,” said race director Christian Prudhomme.

The Bahrain team competing in the race announced earlier on Friday they were pulling out because of health concerns for their riders. Security measures had been stepped up for the event in an effort to combat the spread of the coronavirus, including keeping the public at a distance from riders during stage arrivals and departures.

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

While the Fédération Française de Cyclisme announced on March 13 that all French cycling events are canceled until further notice, it is allowing Paris-Nice to finish on Saturday.

Tirreno-Adriatico

  • Scheduled date: March 11 to 17

  • Status: Postponed

RCS Sport announced on March 6 that it will postpone the Tirreno-Adriatico. The WorldTour race takes place in central Italy. (Italy is a current coronavirus hotspot.)

Absa Cape Epic

  • Scheduled date: March 15 to 22

  • Status: Canceled

This mountain bike stage race is held in the Western Cape of South Africa. There is no word on if it will be rescheduled.

“I have taken this step with a heavy heart, but the health and safety of everybody involved in the event has to be paramount. At 6pm today we received the formal advice from government,” said race founder Kevin Vermaak.

Milan-San Remo

  • Scheduled date: March 21

  • Status: Postponed

RCS Sport announced on March 6 that it will postpone the Milan-San Remo. Considered one of the five “Monuments” (the most prestigious, one-day races in road cycling), the WorldTour race takes place in northwest Italy.

Volta Ciclista a Catalunya

  • Scheduled date: March 23 to 29

  • Status: Postponed

This WorldTour stage race is held annually in Catalonia, Spain, and is the third oldest stage race in the world. This year would mark the 100th edition of the race. Race organizers are hoping to reschedule for later this year.

AG Driedaagse Brugge-De Panne

  • Scheduled date: March 25

  • Status: Postponed

The Royal Belgian Cycling League announced on March 13 that it is postponing all cycling races in Belgium until April 3.

E3 BinckBank Classic

  • Scheduled date: March 27

  • Status: Postponed

The Royal Belgian Cycling League announced on March 13 that it is postponing all cycling races in Belgium until April 3.

Gent-Wevelgem

  • Scheduled date: March 29

  • Status: Postponed

The Royal Belgian Cycling League announced on March 13 that it is postponing all cycling races in Belgium until April 3.

Giro di Sicilia

  • Scheduled date: April 1 to 4

  • Status: Postponed

RCS Sport also announced on March 6 that it will postpone the Giro di Sicilia. The race, which is on the UCI’s Continental Circuits calendar, takes place in Sicily, Italy.

Giro d’Italia

  • Scheduled: May 9 to May 31

  • Status: Postponed

RCS Sport announced on March 13 that the Italian grand tour has been postponed. The three opening stages, set to take place in Hungary, were canceled earlier in the day after Hungary declared a state of emergency from the COVID-19 pandemic. Race organizers expect to set a new date by April 3.

Tour de Suisse

  • Scheduled: June 7 - 14

  • Status: Canceled

“It was with a heavy heart that we have made this decision due to the Corona pandemic. We are however convinced that it is the best solution to provide certainty and thus planning security for participants, fans and partners. For the Tour de Suisse, it is also an important step to ensure the continuation of this event in the future,” Olivier Senn, Co-Managing Director of the Tour de Suisse organization, said in a statement. “We would like to thank all sponsors, host cities, suppliers and our staff for their extraordinary support and solidarity.”

Tour de France

In mid-April, French President Emmanuel Macron canceled all public events with crowds through mid-July—and the Tour de France had no excuse but to postpone. Currently scheduled to start on August 29, the Tour will likely need to reconsider that start, as well, when the French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced that France is now banning large sports gatherings until at least September.

Other Events Affected

USA Cycling Collegiate BMX National Championship

  • Scheduled date: April 4 and 5

  • Status: Postponed

Announced by USA Cycling on March 12, the championships were set to be held in Redmond, Oregon. USA Cycling is looking to reschedule. The rest of the national championship calendar will currently continue as planned.

Sea Otter Classic

  • Scheduled date (new): October 1 to 4

  • Status: Rescheduled

This combination industry trade show, festival, and race series for professional and amateur cyclists alike takes place outside Monterrey, California. It draws a large international attendance and was originally scheduled for mid-April.

North American Handmade Bicycle Show

  • Scheduled date (new): August 21 to 23

  • Status: Rescheduled

Known as NAHBS, this international showcase for framebuilders was originally slated for mid-March in Dallas, Texas. Don Walker, the president and founder of NAHBS, stated, “My primary priority is to protect the health and safety of our amazing community and feel postponing the show is in our best interest.”

Bentonville Bike Fest

  • Scheduled date (new): August 7 to 9

  • Status: Rescheduled

This festival takes place in the ever-growing mountain bike mecca of Bentonville, Arkansas, the same week at the Bentonville Film Festival. It was originally scheduled for the first week of May.

You Might Also Like