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Despite being firmly on the racing calendar, organizers from the 2020 world road cycling championships insist a final decision won’t be made on whether to hold the week-long competition until later this summer.
The worlds — scheduled for September 20-27 in Aigle and Martigny in Switzerland — are the only major cycling race that has not been impacted by the coronavirus that’s created havoc on the international calendar. Officials, however, say they will listen to the appropriate health authorities.
“We want to celebrate cycling, but not at any price,” said Gregory Devaud, co-president of the organizing committee. “We will make a decision before the summer, by the end of June.”
So far, the worlds remain on their scheduled dates as cycling tries to fit everything into a shortened season. A new calendar could be released Tuesday, with a revised dates for the major grand tours and monuments that runs from August through November.
Switzerland has seen fewer coronavirus cases than its neighbors, and cyclists living there have been able to continue to train while racers in other nations are just coming out of a nearly six weeks of lockdown. Right now, events drawing more than 1,000 people are banned in Switzerland until August 31, just a few weeks before the worlds begin.
“The way it’s set up now, it will be held this fall or never. We could imagine rescheduling the worlds, perhaps to 2026 or 2027, but it would look different,” Devaud told RTS. “We have to be consistent in the decisions we make, but not be implacable either.”
Future world championships have already been designated through 2025 by the UCI. Next year, the worlds are set for Flanders, with Wollongong, Australia in 2022, Glasgow, Scotland in 2023 and Zurich Switzerland in 2024. Africa will host the worlds in 2025. So that means if the worlds are next held in September, it would be at least until 2026 before a window opens.
Devaud also confirmed that the worlds program has been adjusted to make up for an apparent overlap with the Tour de France, set to run August 29-September 20. The men’s individual time trial, originally scheduled for the final day of the Tour on September 20, has been moved to Wednesday. A team time trial relay will be held Sunday, giving riders finishing the Tour in Paris a chance to recover.