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Cycling News April 13, 2020

2020 Race Calendar

The COVID-19 pandemic continues its stranglehold on society, extending the quarantine and stay-at-home guidelines set in place throughout the world. Cancellations and postponements of thousands of events have already taken place, and the sport of cycling is not immune. Both the UCI and USA Cycling have extended their event bans until at least the beginning of June, and right now, there is no clear end in sight. 

Among the most recent cancellations are Whiskey Off-Road and the Cascade Cycling Classic, whose organizers both said that they are already making plans to return in 2021. 

Indoor Training

In brighter news, hundreds of thousands of people around the world have been embracing indoor training. Zwift is the most popular platform, while other options include BKool, Sufferfest, TrainerRoad, and Rouvy.

This past weekend, Team Ineos organized a virtual race for their squad – the Alpe du Zwift eRace – which included the likes of Chris Froome, Geraint Thomas, Rohan Dennis, and Egan Bernal. Before the race, Team Ineos organized a group ride which over 15,000 riders attended, the highest single-event total in Zwift history.

Shortly thereafter, 30 Team Ineos riders lined up for the 25 km race Alpe du Zwift eRace, which culminated in the long climb up the Alpe du Zwift, a steep 12.2 kilometers representative of the real-life l’Alpe d’Huez. World Time Trial Champion Dennis took off part way up the climb and was never seen again. The Australian sat at around 450 W for the majority of the climb, eventually finishing nearly a minute clear of Eddie Dunbar who was second, and Michal Kwiatkowski in third. 

After the race, Dennis said, “It’s a time when nobody is allowed to ride with anybody, so we’re lucky to have technology like this so we can do something for the fans to keep them across what we’re doing and how we’re training.” Team Ineos’ eRace serves as a wonderful reminder that even when we are stuck in our homes, we are never truly alone, and there is always someone to ride with. 

Four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome finished sixth, saying afterwards that his recovery is basically complete. Froome suffered a traumatic crash less than a year ago which left him with many broken bones and a severely fractured femur. After months of rehab and single-leg pedaling on a trainer, he says he is nearly back to normal, and like the rest of the pro peloton, looking forward to a return to racing soon. 

Postponed 2020 Races

The 2020 Classics season barely got underway before it was abruptly cancelled, but riders and organizers alike are hopeful that cancellation will turn into postponement in fall 2020. The Tour of Flanders is looking at a mid-September date, with other races such as Paris-Roubaix are still looking at possibilities in September or October. 

In addition to the spring Classics, the dates of the three Grand Tours are yet to be determined – if they will run at all – in 2020. The Giro d’Italia is reportedly looking at fall 2020, the Tour de France is considering a late-July start, and the Vuelta is weary of being overcome by the anticipation of a fall-heavy race schedule. 

COVID-19 has affected Italy most harshly, and Italian riders will remain on lockdown until at least May 3rd, according to the President of the Italian Cycling Federation Renato di Rocco. 

Upcoming Races

The Zwift Classics series continues its run through April, with the premier Pro/Am Invitational races taking place every four days since April 5th at 7 p.m. BST / 2 p.m. EDT. You can watch the best Zwift riders in the world take on the Richmond Challenge, Watopia Cup, and Crit City Slam on April 17th, 21st, and 25th respectively. Races will be live-streamed on multiple platforms, including Zwift’s official YouTube page. 

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