It may, perhaps, have ben too optimistic to assume, or even to hope, that the UCI International Road Calendar would proceed uninterrupted by the coronavirus this year, as the disease seeps into every aspect of public life, prompting new lockdowns, shut-downs and closures across the world, despite promises and hopes from governmental bodies worldwide that things would open up and we could get back to normal.
The fun never ends, it seems, on this rollercoaster ride of hope and disappointment, frustration and grief, as reality strikes hard once again with the news that 34 events in the Men’s and Women’s UCI International Road Racing Calendar have been outright cancelled. To make matters worse, the word from the higher-ups in the organisation stressed, in their announcement today that this is 34 event cancellations “so far.”
To put things in perspective, and to provide some hope (dare we?) for the survival of the calendar, 24 of these events have requested that their cancellation be downgraded, simply, to a postponement until later in the year, although one does wonder, with the likelihood of a return to normalcy this year looking less and less likely, it stands to reason that the end of the season with, potentially, an extra 24 events smattered throughout the final couple of months, could be borderline unmanageable for both the organisation and, energetically speaking, for the riders themselves.
The UCI press release reads as follows: “The UCI will review the requests of these organisers in close collaboration with the different parties concerned. It will set the new dates with a view to the overall coherence of the calendar and in the general interest of cycling, then will communicate its decisions by the end of March at the latest.”
The UCI are now hard-pressed to fit everything in. The fewer races that are able to go ahead, the worse it is for the organisation, for the riders, for the fans and for the sport in general. A list of outright cancellations is as follows: The men's and women's Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, Santos Tour Down Under, Race Torquay and Herald Sun Tour were all to take place in Australia in January and February, but the pandemic made travelling down under impossible. Beyond them, Vuelta CV Feminas and Setmana Ciclista Valenciana, Circuit Cycliste Sarthe – Pays de la Loire, Tour Colombia, Vuelta a San Juan, Tour de Langkawi, Tour of Antalya, RideLondon Classique, Tour de Yorkshire, Volta Limburg, Volta a la Comunidad de Madrid, Taxc Pro Classic and Halle Ingooigem have all faced cancellation in Europe.
Races that have applied for postponement include Volta ao Algarve, Vuelta a Andalucía, Mallorca Challenge events, Tour of Oman, Saudi Tour, Tour de Rwanda, Grand Prix de Denain - Porte du Hainaut, Volta a la Comunidad Valenciana, Vuelta Ciclista de la Region de Murcia, Tour de Taiwan, Ronde van Drenthe, Itzulia Basque Country, Ocean Championships, Greek Monuments Tour and The Women's Tour. Certainly, there will be more to come, and we at Veloflow hope for swift and decisive action from the UCI on which events will and will not ahead, with as many taking place as possible.