Worlds alternatives and Vuelta wildcards

New Basque project and Quintana's Arkea team are overlooked for Vuelta while officials look for world's Plan-B.

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It’s all about creating a plan B and business as usual in these uncertain times of coronavirus.

The Vuelta a España confirmed its three wild-card invitations Friday, and a few big names were left out.

Along with the 19 WorldTour teams, the Vuelta confirmed a spot for Total Direct Energie, which earned its bid after winning the second-tier team ranking in 2019. Spanish teams Caja Rural-Seguros RGA and BH-Burgos both made the grade.

That means the new Euskadi-Euskatel project and Nairo Quintana’s Arkea-Samsic team are both left out. And it’s another setback for Mathieu van der Poel, who’s seen his season turned upside following the postponement of the Tokyo Olympic Games until 2021. The door isn’t completely shut. One of those Vuelta-bound teams could cede its invitation, thus perhaps opening a slim chance for Van der Poel’s Alpecin-Fenix team or another squad to race the Vuelta, set for October 20 to November 8.

With everything up in the air as coronavirus continues to wreak havoc on the racing calendar, officials are also looking at alternatives to host the 2020 world road cycling championships.

Last week, officials representing the Aigle-Martigny worlds, set for September 20-27, said the event is not a guarantee, and that a final decision won’t be made until later this summer.

According to the Spanish daily MARCA, officials are considering alternatives in Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates. The Middle East has seen fewer Covid-19 cases than Europe, but travel and logistics could be complicated, especially with the worlds coming just a week after the Tour de France in the UCI’s revised 2020 racing calendar.


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