For the first time since 1991, there will be no international mountain bike event at Mont-Sainte-Anne this year.
The historic Quebec venue has hosted a UCI-sanctioned World Cup or mountain bike world championships every year since first appearing on the calendar in the early 90s. 2020 would have been the 30th year.
Gestev, the organizers of the Vélirium festival of which the World Cup is a part, made the decision to cancel due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Rescheduling not an option
Organizers of the Mont-Sainte-Anne World Cup state that looking for an alternative date on the 2020 World Cup calendar is not an option. Instead, Gestev is looking forward to resuming in 2021.
“Too many questions remain unanswered for us to pursue the possibility of postponing the event until the fall,” said Gabriel Fontaine Leclerc, General Manager at Gestev. “considering the sheer complexity of such an undertaking and the major challenges involved for our partners it is not feasible for us to explore this option. Let’s consider this a rain check for 2021.”
The decision brings Gestev, Cycling Canada and Quebec Summer Events Corporation in line with the Government of Quebec rules. The province has declared all festivals and mass sporting and cultural events should be cancelled until August 31, 2020.
Mont-Sainte-Anne World Cup was originally scheduled to take place August 21-23, 2020.
“Our priority above all else is the health and safety of the athletes, volunteers, employees and thousands of spectators who travel to be a part of Vélirium every year,” Leclerc stated in Gestev’s announcement.
“Here at Cycling Canada we are obviously disappointed to miss a huge annual event like the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup at Mont-Sainte-Anne, but the health and safety of our athletes and members will always be our priority,” said Mathieu Boucher, Head of Development and Operations at Cycling Canada. “We all have a duty to support the efforts of the public health authorities to mitigate the transmission of this virus.”
Where does that leave the World Cup?
The cancellation of Mont-Sainte-Anne is the latest in the UCI’s slow-moving cancellation or postponement of the 2020 World Cup calendar. Last week, the Lenzerheide XCO World Cup and Albstadt XCO world championships were both cancelled. UCI is currently seeking a new venue for the cross country world championships.
With MSA off the calendar, downhill world championships are now the first scheduled event of 2020. The rainbow stripes are set to be awarded on Sept. 5-6 in Leogang, Austria.
Downhill and cross country worlds were scheduled for different dates to work around the 2020 Olympic Games. Those Games have since been rescheduled to 2021.
The first cross country World Cup of the year is currently scheduled for the following weekend. Val di Sole, Italy will host a combined XCO and DH weekend on Sept. 12-13.