Cycling News (April 26–May 3)
By: Zach Nehr
French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has announced an official delay to all large events in the country until after September 1st, putting the rescheduled Tour de France which is due to start in August in jeopardy. Speculation has flown as to whether the Tour de France will get special treatment, but no official statements have been released.
Just last week, France had said professional cyclists can begin training outdoors as of May 11th – their first outdoor training allowance in nearly two months. Spain will allow similar restrictions, with professional riders being allowed to train outdoors as of May 4th. However, there are limits to every allowance, and those training in Spain will only be allowed to train alone and inside their own province.
Revised 2020 Race Schedule
The 2020 editions of the Clásica San Sebastián, Itzulia Basque Country, Volta a Catalunya, and Deutschland Tour have all been cancelled. Organizers had originally attempted to postpone these events, but uncertainties regarding calendar space and the state of society have led them to pull the plug and wait until next year.
Originally slated for Trento, Italy in September 2020, the UEC Road Cycling European Championships have been postponed to 2021. The organizers are hopeful that a new venue can be found for the 2020 edition, but say a cancellation is most likely. However, they have committed to bringing the championships back to Trento in 2021. Elda Verones from the Trento tourism board said, “Given how the Coronavirus is affecting the economics, we can look forward to the next year’s event as a great opportunity to gather people and share our common thrive for upturn once the emergency will be finally over.”
The 2020 UCI Mountain Bike Cross-Country World Championships have also been cancelled. Set to take place in Albstadt, Germany, the event had already been postponed from its original dates of June 25–28. But with the German government banning mass gatherings until at least October 25th, organizers felt they had no choice other than cancelling the championships in 2020.
Now postponed until autumn, the 2020 Vuelta a España has cancelled its first three stages in the Netherlands – the 2020 edition was due to start in Utrecht before moving to the Basque country. La Vuelta is now preliminarily set to be 18 stages, but exact dates are yet to be announced. Organizers have speculated that La Vuelta would take place after the rescheduled Tour de France and Giro d’Italia which are set for September and October 2020.
Epic Rides has decided to cancel the 2020 Grand Junction Off-Road, while the Carson City Off-Road and the Oz Trails Off-Road are still up in the air in 2020. Like the already-cancelled Whiskey Off-Road, Grand Junction Off-Road registrants can transfer their registration to a different Off-Road event, opt for a discounted and prioritized 2021 event registration, or ask for a partial refund.
Tour for All – WorldTour racing is coming to Zwift as ten men’s and nine women’s teams will take part in a five-day stage race May 4th through 8th. The roster includes riders from Mitchelton-Scott, EF-Education Pro Cycling, Israel Start-Up Nation, Alpecin-Fenix, Bahrain-McLaren, Canyon/SRAM Racing, CCC-Liv, Boels-Dolmans, and more. The event is a fundraiser for Doctors Without Borders, with Zwift contributing an initial donation of $125,000, and an additional $125,000 if 250,000 riders complete a stage of the Tour for All in May.
US Pro Road Tour on Zwift – Project Echelon Racing hosted the Virtual Redlands Bicycle Classic on Zwift this past weekend, with nearly one hundred professionals and domestic elite riders starting the Friday night criterium and Sunday road race. Both stages were professionally broadcast and livestreamed on Zwift Community Live.
On Friday, a blistering early pace split the field in the first ten minutes of racing. Just about 30 riders were left when the dust settled, but even then, the pace hardly let up. In the end, it would come down to a sprint, with 2019 Zwift USA National Champion Holden Comeau (Saris + The Pro’s Closet) beating Cory Williams (L39ION) and Ryan Larsen (Saris + The Pro’s Closet).
Sunday’s Road Race around the Greater London Loop let the riders settle in before hitting the first climb up Box Hill. The first trip up the six-minute climb whittled the field down to just 20-some riders with over an hour of racing to go. On the final lap, a flurry of attacks flew as riders dropped left and right and over 6 W/kg. Just 11 riders crested Box Hill in the lead group, and with 3km to go, it would be coming down to a sprint. Zach Gregg (Project Echelon) launched early, but was overhauled by Cory Williams (L39ION) in the final few hundred meters. But coming up from behind was Alex Fraser-Maraun (Landis-Trek) who beat Williams on the line in a photo finish. Ryan Larsen (Saris + The Pro’s Closet) rounded out the podium whose lower steps were identical to Friday’s.
Project Echelon will continue its collaboration with Zwift Community Live to host a Virtual Tour of the Gila and the Joe Martin Stage Race – the former is expected to take place in late May, with the latter coming soon in June.