VN news ticker: Classic Grand Besançon and the Tour du Jura postponed, UCI condemns racist abuse of Nacer Bouhanni

Here's what's making the headlines on Wednesday, April 7.

Photo: Bas Czerwinski/Getty Images

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Classic Grand Besançon and the Tour du Jura postponed

The Classic Grand Besançon and the Tour du Jura were both postponed until later in the 2021 season.

With the resurgence of the COVID-19 in nearby regions, the two races which had been scheduled for April 16 and 17 have been suspended until organizers can find alternate dates on the calendar.

In consultation with local health authorities, race organizers made the announcement of the races’ postponement Wednesday.

“This decision is the wisest in the current context. We thank communities, our partners, and those in charge of the L’Équipe channel for their support and listening,” said Laurent Monrolin on behalf of the events’ organization. “With them, we are working to find new dates in 2021, certainly at the end of summer.”

Groupama-FDJ had Thibaut Pinot, Alexis Vuillermoz, and supporting riders on the start lists, but will now be free to shuffle rosters for other upcoming races.

The team did not start Wednesday’s Scheldeprijs due to potential COVID-19 exposure.

UCI condemns racist abuse of Nacer Bouhanni

The UCI condemned racist abuse directed toward Arkéa-Samsic sprinter Nacer Bouhanni. The French rider revealed Monday he’s been the brunt of racist and threatening messages on social media after he was relegated at the Cholet-Pays de Loire for shoulder charging Groupama-FDJ’s Jake Stewart.

In a statement, the UCI said: “However serious the fault of the French rider” that “nothing justifies the insults he has been subject to in the days following the act he is accused of.”

Also read: Nacer Bouhanni hits back at racist insults

The cycling governing body added that it wished to “firmly condemn” the racist abuse and “reaffirm its unqualified commitment to fighting against all forms of discrimination.”

Bouhanni lodged a formal police complaint against those who abused him and has since shut down his Facebook page due to the volume of messages. Meanwhile, the UCI has referred the Cholet-Pays de Loire incident to its disciplinary committee for review.

Groupama-FDJ out of Scheldeprijs after COVID-19 case

Arnaud Démare will not be in contention at Scheldeprijs after his Groupama-FDJ team had to pull out of the sprinter’s classic following a COVID-19 case within the team.

Also read: Scheldeprijs preview: Wind, chaos and crashes

“We will not take the start of the Scheldeprijs this Wednesday, due to the positive test for COVID-19 of one of our team members,” the team wrote in a post on social media.

The French squad is the second team to pull out of the Belgian one-day race as a result of coronavirus concerns. Trek-Segafredo did so earlier this week due to potential rider exposure to the virus.

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