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Live blog: How coronavirus is affecting cycling right now

Daily updates from a rapidly changing world

Jack Burke

The rapid spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) has caused massive changes in the 2020 cycling season. This live blog will be updated with any updates and important information on how COVID-19 has affected the world of cycling.

Tuesday May 26

Crankworx Whistler is cancelled for 2020. The 10-day mountain bike festival, the world’s largest mountain bike gathering, will return to B.C. in 2021.

Monday May 25

-Cycling Canada officially announces all events on or before July 31 will be cancelled or postponed, although the list of postponed or cancelled events goes well beyond the July 31 cutoff. Events such as the 2020 UCI Gran Fondo World Championships set to take place Aug. 9-13 and the UCI Paracycling Road World Cup set for Aug. 6-7 have been cancelled. Cycling Canada says it will develop an updated calendar by June 19 which would include national calendar events to be hosted between Aug. 1 and Nov. 30.

Wednesday May 20

-The Quebec cycling federation’s three stage plan to restart activities sheds light on what racing will look like when it resumes.

Friday May 15

UCI announces compact World Cup mountain bike calendar for cross country and downhill.

Tuesday May 12

Several WorldTour teams, including CCC and Astana, in trouble amid COVID-19 pandemic

Monday May 11

BC bans gatherings larger than 50 indefinitely, putting the future of the province’s large cycling events into question.

-The lockdown in France is lifted and French cyclists celebrate their first day back on the road.

Sunday May 10

-The Fifth annual Bluewater International Granfondo has been rescheduled to Aug. 1 2021. All participant’s registrations have been transferred to next year’s event. If participants are unable to attend the event next year, organizers have given them the option to donate their registration fee to support front line palliative care workers at Bluewater Health and St. Joseph’s Hospice. Full refunds are also available.

Saturday May 9

-Not only will the 2020 Vuelta a España not start in the Netherlands, it will also bypass Portugal.

Tuesday May 5

-UCI releases revamped men’s and women’s 2020 World Tour road calendar, adjusted for COVID-19 postponements

-Mont-Sainte-Anne mountain bike World Cup and Vélirium cycling festival are cancelled for 2020. The classic Quebec race will resume in 2021.

Friday May 1

-Another round of World Cup cross country racing is postponed. Lenzerheide, Switzerland will no longer take place on Aug. 14-16. While the event is currently postponed, the UCI and local organizers have yet to determine if a new date will be possible.

Thursday April 30

XCO mountain bike world championships in Albstadt, Germany are cancelled. The UCI is now searching for a new venue for 2020 cross country worlds, which were originally scheduled to take place June 25-28.

Tuesday April 28

-Enduro World Series releases shortened 2020 calendar. Whistler will not be an EWS stop for the first time since the series started, and there will be no North American stops in 2020.

Monady April 27

-Cycling Canada extends suspension of domestic racing calendar. Road and XCO mountain bike national championships now affected, as is BC Superweek.

Friday April 17

-Reggie Ramble is moving to 2021. The Ontario gravel event will now take place on June 26, 2021. Organizers are looking to start “Ramble Sampler” rides, if the health situation allows in 2020, focusing on fun while previewing sections of the 2021 route. Details on entry deferrals and Ramble Samplers are at Reggie Ramble’s website.

Thursday April 16

-Ontario cyclist who recovered from COVID-19 is urging athletes to take the virus seriously.

-More cycling companies are finding creative ways to help out in the battle against coronavirus.

Wednesday April 15

Tour de France will now start in late August and run into September, as the UCI starts to nail down its revised 2020 men’s race calendar.

Tuesday April 14

-Mountain bike cross country and downhill World Cup round in Vallnord, Andorra cancelled for 2020.

Sunday April 12

– Blaming the postponement of the Olympics and Paralympics, and the loss of 30 per cent of the annual calendar, the UCI has furloughed staff and cut leaders’ salaries. The measures taken include full or partial furlough – at different percentages – for all 130 employees of the UCI, and a total revision of projects and objectives for 2020 and beyond.

Friday April 10

For small businesses like No. 22, the only thing to do is look towards better days. Reflection on the global pandemic, Bryce Gracey, co-foudner of No. 22 bikes, uses a bike analogy: “It feels like we’re climbing a mountain road in the fog,” he says, “we’re trying to keep grinding the best we can without any sign of the summit.”

Thursday April 9

BC Superweek cancells its 2020 event. The 10-day event, Canada’s largest professional road race series will resume in 2021.

– Sea Otter Canada, scheduled to take place from July 3-5 at the Blue Mountain Resort has been cancelled. The festival, which included an expo, bike demos, and dirt and road events was set to draw cyclists from across North America. A miniature Sea Otter Festival has been organized for Sept. 18 and 19. It will feature the Scarecrow Gravel ride, the family-friendly Sea Otter Hub & Spoke, kids races, and a mini-expo area.

Wednesday April 8

BC Parks closes all provincial parks, campsites, recreation areas and ecological preserves ahead of the long weekend.

-Lost and Found Gravel Grinder cancells 2020 event.

Monday April 6

– Dirty Kanza, one of America’s most anticipated gravel races, has been postponed until  September.

Sunday April 5

The Tour de Gatineau and Chrono féminin de la Gatineau will not happen this June.

Saturday April 4

-Ontario imposes further restrictions on essential services and businesses. Here’s what that means for bike shops.

York region closes 120 km of trails, municipalities begin enforcing social distancing and park closures with fines.

Friday April 3

Tour of Flanders will continue this weekend, though in a modified format. The Spring Classic was originally scheduled for Sunday in Belgium. It has moved online, with 13 riders competing virtually in an invitational demonstration event.

-Cycling Canda extended its suspension of the 2020 national event calendar. It is now recommending all races up to Jun3 14, 2020 be cancelled or postponed. Canada’s governing body for cycling will reassess the situation on April 20.

-QBP lays off 12% of workforce as North American bike industry starts to feel the effects of COVID-19 pandemic. A second distributor, HLC has also started making some workforce changes, reports BRAIN.

Thursday April 2

-Bike shops in Quebec have been included in the list of essential services

-Trust Performance suspends operations due in part to problems caused by coronavirus.

Wednesday April 1

– Crankworx Innsbruck postponed to mid-fall. The Austrian round of Crankworx World Tour will now take place Sept. 30-Oct. 4, 2020

Tuesday March 31

Monday March 30

-Following the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, the Games have been given a new date. The Olympics will run from July 24 to Aug. 8, 2021 and the Paralympics will take place between Aug. 24 and  Sept. 5, 2021.

“I am confident that, working together with the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the Japanese Government and all our stakeholders, we can master this unprecedented challenge,” says IOC president Thomas Bach

Sunday March 29

– B.C. and Alberta join Ontario and Saskatchewan in listing bike shops as essential services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Saturday March 28

– Crossroads Tremblant, one of Canada’s biggest cycling festivals, has been rescheduled to 2021.

Friday March 27

-UCI postpones 2020 cross country world championships due to coronavirus. Albstadt, Germany was scheduled to host XCO worlds from June 25-28, 2020.

Thursday March 26

-French sports minister puts forward proposal to run Tour de France without spectators in order to safely run Grand Tour during COVID-19 pandemic.

Wednesday March 25

-Cycling Canada Head of Performance, Kris Westwood spoke about Canada’s choice to pull out of the Olympics and the subsequent postponement of the Games.“I’m proud that Canada was the first country to take a stand and say we would not send anyone to Games in the summer of 2020,” said Westwood. “The Canadian Olympic Committee and Canadian Paralympic Committee have been great leaders in this and we’re looking forward to building plans around new Olympic and Paralympic dates. In the meantime, we can focus on doing our civic duty in helping to battle the pandemic without worrying about compromising our athletes’ performance.”

Tuesday March 24

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics are officially postponed. Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced that he and the head of the IOC, Thomas Bach, had come to an agreement during a phone call.

Monday March 23

2020 Olympics to be postponed due to pandemic, says Dick Pound

-Australia follows Canada’s lead and pulls out of the 2020 Olympics.

Sunday March 22

Canada won’t send athletes to 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. The National committees urges the IOC to postpone Games because of Covid-19 risks.

-The IOC will announce their decision on Tokyo 2020 mid-April.

-The list of pro cyclists on Zwift is growing daily.

Saturday March 21

– Organizations continue to come out in protest of the Tokyo Olympics. USA Swimming and USA Track and field have issued statements urging the postponement of the event.

Friday March 20

– UCI expands World Cup mountain bike and Enduro World Series postponements and cancellations.

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau expressed his continued support for the 2020 Olympic Games to proceed as scheduled.

Thursday March 19

France bans cycling, restricts running to 2 km from home

Many Canadian bike shops close or move to appointment only.

Wednesday March 18

– The UCI has extended the cycling season until November 1 because of the major disruption to the calendar.

Canadian race organizers struggle to figure out next steps amid cancellations

IMBA issues guidelines for mountain biking during COVID-19 outbreak

Tuesday March 17

-The ASO postpones Paris-Roubaix, La Flèche Wallonne, and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. The organization is already looking into dates to reschedule the races.

-The FQSC suspends all Quebec cycling activities until at least April 15.

-The Tour of Flanders, scheduled for April 5, has been cancelled.

-Belgium on lockdown until April 5, Belgian spring classics likely to be cancelled.

-The ICO remains “fully committed to the event being staged in four months time.”

-A member of the Japanese organizing committee for the Tokyo Olympics said he had contracted COVID-19.

-Dirty Kanza will make a decision by May 1 on whether the event will go on.

Monday March 16

– All Ontario mass start events in April have been cancelled. This includes races such as Paris to Ancaster, Substance Project races, O-Cups and weekly race series.

-The Canadian Enduro Series has been cancelled.

Sunday March 15

– USA Cycling has suspended permits for all sanctioned racing in the US through April 5.

The UCI has suspended all classifications for all events on the UCI International Calendar, across all disciplines, from 15 March 2020 and until further notice but at least until 3 April 2020. The organization has not outright banned events but organizers are “expressly requested to cancel any cycling event on the UCI International Calendar in territories identified at risk by the WHO.” Most countries around the world are currently at risk.

-The UCI has requested cancellation of any further Olympic qualifying event events (May 11 BMX Freestyle, May 27 for mountain, June 1 for BMX Racing and June 7 for para-cycling). It has also requests that events that took place after March 3 be retroactively cancelled, as travel bans may have unfairly affected those eligible to participate.

Saturday March 14

– Paris-Nice, what could be the final pro race for a while, wraps up a day early in France. While the end of the race marks the start of a void in the pro calendar, the Race to the Sun at least gave fans a spectacular finish.

– Domestic race series cancellations in Canada and the U.S. continue as local heath advisories limit public gatherings and Cycling Canada urges caution. On the west coast, Island Cup mountain bike series cancelled all events scheduled before May 1, including four XC and one enduro.

Redlands Classic road race has been cancelled for 2020. The race will return in 2021.

Friday March 13

Cycling Canada is “recommending that all cycling events on the Cycling Canada calendar between March 15th and May 1st be postponed or cancelled.” This includes the postponement of 2020 Canadian Youth & Para Track Cycling Championships originally scheduled for April 3-5 in Milton, Ontario. Cycling Canada will reassess the situation on April 3 for events that are scheduled between May 2nd and June 14th.

– Giro d’Italia has cancelled or postponed its scheduled start in Hungary. The Hungarian government has declared a state of emergency due to the spread of COVID-19, making the race start impossible. Organizers will not announce any plans for a new start date until April 3rd, 2020. The 103rd Giro d’Italia had been scheduled to run from  May 9-31, starting in Budapest, Hungary.

– Women’s Tour has been postponed by organizers well ahead of its June 8-13, 2020 scheduled start date. The British stage race is one of the biggest events on the UCI Women’s World Tour calendar.

Cape Epic mountain bike stage race cancelled at the last minute. The event was scheduled to start Sunday, March 15. SongoInfo Race of Champions, the traditional pre-Cape Epic race, ran as scheduled on March 12.

– Here in Canada, B.C.’s Escape Velocity Spring Series has been cancelled after B.C. health officials asked community event organizers to postpone large public gatherings.

Thursday March 12

Bear Mountain Canada Cup XCO postponed by event organizers. A new date is not yet set for what was the first round of cross country Canada Cup racing in 2020.

-The RBC GranFondo Whistler and the 2020 UCI Gran Fondo World Championship announce they have no plans of cancelling the September event.

-In an Instagram post, Fernando Gaviria, of UAE-Team Emirates says that he tested positive for coronavirus while in quarantine in the UAE.

Wednesday March 11

Enduro World Series has postponed the first two rounds of racing. Colombia was scheduled to host the opening round on March 28-29, with Chile next on the schedule on April 4-5. Both events have been rescheduled to dates in November.

– Russian team Gazprom-Rusvelo confirms a rider has been diagnosed with COVID-19. Dmitry Strakhov tested positive for the virus and was subsequently hospitalized. The 24-year-old Russian has been under quarantine in an Abu Dhabi hotel after the UAE Tour was called off.

Tuesday March 10

– Tour of Normandy (March 23-29) organizers cancel 40th edition of the French stage race. It will resume in 2021.

– World Cup mountain biking sees its first major international cancellation or postponement. Officials in Lousã, Portugal include the first World Cup downhill among provisional list of events impacted by coronavirus.

– The Marlene Südtirol Sunshine Race, which was scheduled to take place in Nalles Italy on April 3-5, has been postponed to a later date.

-There are very few spectators to cheer on the racers at Paris-Nice.

Sunday March 8

– The French government bans gatherings of more than 1,000 people. Paris-Nice is underway.

Friday March 6

– Multiple teams are withdrawing from Paris-Nice. The 78th edition of the early-season stage race is set to start on Sunday, with organizers ASO scrambling to fill vacancies left by withdrawing teams. Other teams are refocusing on Paris-Nice, adding riders who were scheduled to start Strade Bianchi to the roster for the French stage race.

– Multiple teams have suspended their racing programs for large parts of March, including EF Education First, Mitchelton-Scott, Astana, UAE-Emirates, and Parkhotel-Valkenburg. Team INEOS has suspended racing until March 23 following concerns over coronavirus and the tragic death of directeur sportif Nico Portal. INEOS is currently expected to return to racing at the Volta a Catalunya.

– Strade Bianche may be cancelled, but two-time race winner Michal Kwiatkowski decided to ride the route anyway. The Polish rider for Team INEOS rode the entire course solo. It may not have been a race, but Kwiatkowski puts up impressive numbers. he rode for six hours at an average speed of 31.8 km/hr, with over 3,500 m of elevation gain. The 187-km ride is up on Strava for all to see. As for why he did it? His explanation on Facebook was simple: “Because I love these roads.” 

Thursday March 5

-Sea Otter, the largest cycling event in North America, has been cancelled due to a growing number of cases of COVID-19 in California. The organizers are planning to reschedule the event, which was originally set to take place April 16-19 in Monterey, California.

The UCI has cancelled the opening round of mountain bike Eliminator World Cup racing, following a decision by UAE health authorities to cancel major sporting events. Dubai was scheduled to host the race on Friday, March 6. Organizers are attempting to reschedule the event.

-Steve Bauer looks on the bright side of the Strade Bianche cancellation.

-The Strade Bianche has been cancelled. Read: Strade Bianche cancelled due to the spread of coronavirus in Italy

Wednesday March 4

-Italian officials announce “Sporting events and competitions of any order or discipline, carried out in any place, public and private, are suspended.”

-Mitchelton-Scott pulls out of multiple races, and will not race at all until March 22.

– Jumbo-Visma pulls out of Strade Bianche

-CCC-Liv pulls out of Strade Bianche

-Members of Cofidis and Groupama will be kept in quarantine in the UAE until March 14


Tuesday March 3

– North American Handmade Bicycle Show has been rescheduled. The show was scheduled for March 20-22 in Dallas, Texas. The new dates for NAHBS 2020 are Friday, Aug. 21 – Sunday, Aug. 23. NAHBS 2020 will remain at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, at the new dates in August.