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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Thursday, March 19, 2020

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2019 Tour de France | 2019 Giro d'Italia

If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality. - Desmond Tutu

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Tour of Flanders will not take place on April 5

Here's is the race organizer's unsurprising update:

Flanders Classics is forced to cancel the Tour of Flanders on the planned date. The biggest one day race in the world, which was scheduled for 5 April, will not be able to take place due to the measures taken by the government to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Tonight, the federal government has imposed a number of additional measures in the fight against the COVID-19 virus. In addition, the deadline for the measures has been extended to 5 April. This means that Flanders Classics is no longer in the possibility to organise the Tour of Flanders on the planned date.

Tour of Flanders

We won't be seeing scenes like this for a while. Sirotti photo

Tomas Van Den Spiegel, CEO of Flanders Classics: “Indeed, the new measures imposed by the federal government prevent us from organising the Tour of Flanders on April 5.  There are, of course, more important issues than bike racing right now. We hope that we will all succeed in creating a climate in which we can, in the short term, resume our normal daily lives.”

Flanders Classics, together with the UCI and representatives of the teams and riders, is currently studying the possibility of a postponement to a later date this year.

2020 Tour de Yorkshire & ASDA Tour de Yorkshire Women's race postponed due to Covid 19

The race organizer sent me this:

As part of the fight against the spread of Coronavirus (COVID19), Welcome to Yorkshire and the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) have made the joint decision to postpone the 2020 Tour de Yorkshire and Asda Tour de Yorkshire Women’s Race.

The event is one of the best supported races in the cycling calendar but the safety of everyone involved from the athletes to the spectators must be the number one priority.

Greg van Avermaet

Greg van Avermaet wins stage three of the 2019 edition of the Tour de Yorkshire.

Following consultation with stakeholders and sponsors Welcome to Yorkshire held in depth and constructive discussions with both ASO and British Cycling (both TDY race partners) with all parties in agreement that this is the right and responsible course of action.

The sixth edition of the annual cycle race was scheduled to take place between 30th April and 3rd May 2020 but the developing situation with regards to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) means continuing with the event as planned simply became untenable.

A key factor in the decision-making process was the consideration of the additional burden that such a large-scale event places on the emergency services and local authority partners, at a time when their priorities are rightly elsewhere. It is important to reiterate that the overriding concern for all partners involved is the health and safety of the public at this time.

Peter Box CBE, Chair of Welcome to Yorkshire said: “The race is a great spectacle, but we all know that the health and well-being of everyone across the region, and the country, is frankly more important than a sporting event. Our attention now turns to supporting those tourism businesses across the region, many still reeling from the floods, during this unprecedented crisis.”

Welcome to Yorkshire, ASO and British Cycling are working with the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) to find alternative dates in the international cycling calendar for the race to take place.

Welcome to Yorkshire understands the impact that postponing the race will have on the tourism industry across the region. This early decision gives us the opportunity to focus our efforts on how we can support businesses at this time and continue to promote the region as a destination to visit going forward.

UCI considering a shorter Giro, moving Monuments to Fall

VeloNews posted this report:

March 18, 2020: Just as the coronavirus is throwing the European pro cycling calendar into disarray, UCI president David Lappartient hinted that the Giro d’Italia and other, recently canceled one-day races will be rescheduled for later in the season.

In hopes that Europe can escape the clutches of a growing health crisis by summer, the UCI president told French television that the cycling federation is already looking for space on the calendar for the Giro and cycling’s cycling’s monuments in the fall, thus extending the European racing season until the end of October and adjusting other races on the calendar.

You can read the entire story here.

MPCC (Movement for Credible Cycling) supports very strict health measures

The organization sent me this:

Because it is a matter of protection for everyone, because the health of the riders has always been our main focus and because we have been committed to fostering credibility for 12 years, MPCC asks everyone, and especially its members, to comply at once with all of the health measures with the same determination that it has shown towards sports and ethical rules.

The efforts of the governments focus on slowing down the propagation of the COVID-19 virus in order to create a sufficient level of immunity among the population. The main goal here is to avoid a huge number of persons getting sick at the same time, thus overcrowding the hospitals and preventing those really in need from getting a sufficient level of care. As a consequence, during the spread of the virus, the governments already have to - or will very soon - restrict the free movement of persons. These restrictions will only get more permissive during an ulterior phase.

In numerous countries, the population is already required to stay home to limit the spread of the Covid-19 virus. In these areas, MPCC believes that the same rule should apply to everyone, whether you are a mere amateur cyclist or a cycling champion, for as long as imposed and following the different rules enforced by the governments.

The doctor of our movement, Pierre Lebreton, hematologist, has a clear statement for them: "If some of you wonder whether they can go out to train, the answer is no! Not going out is the answer to two potential issues: contaminating the others, and having an accident that would overcrowd the hospitals even more." (P. Lebreton interview Direct Vélo )

During the following weeks, we are convinced that our 861 members, including 380 professional athletes, males and females, will support this behaviour, whatever the consequences on their profesionnal activity and on their mid-term and long-term sporting goals.

Before anything else, cyclists are global citzens. Solidarity is a crucial value that sport must encourage, especially in these circumstances.

We sincerely hope that our individual behaviours and our collective will are key to defeat this pandemic.

We wish all of you "Bon courage" in this difficult moment.

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