2020 GP Québec and GP Montréal in doubt

Travel restrictions and uncertainties over coronavirus throw Canadian races into danger, organizers to confirm status July 31.

The Grand Prix Cycliste Québec and Grand Prix Cycliste Montréal could be the latest victims of the coronavirus crisis.

Originally scheduled for September 11 and 13, event organizers announced Thursday that they would only make a final decision on the fate of this year’s races on July 31.

“With eight weeks to go until the races, the current directives issued by the various European, Canadian and Quebec authorities involved represent various types of uncertainty, which in turn mean multiple operational and financial challenges,” the event organizers said in a press release.

Among the many challenges facing them are the opening of the Canadian borders and the ban on holding large events, both of which are highly restricted until August 31 – less than two weeks before the races are scheduled to take place.

In addition, there is a current 14-day quarantine order in place for any visitors entering the country until August 31. Should there be a sudden surge in the COVID-19 pandemic late in the summer, all sanitary measures could be extended into September, hence affecting the ability of the international peloton to even reach the start line.

The Canadian GP events have earned a reputation as some of the best-organized and most competitive late-season races since they started in 2010, and are a traditional stomping ground for the likes of Michael Matthews, Greg Van Avermaet, Peter Sagan and other riders preparing for the world championships. Every year an elite part of the peloton takes a private charter from Paris before spending a week in Canada, and they enjoy a relaxed week far from the pressures of the European race scene.

But with riders coming from so many different countries, each with their own health and sanitary measures, such a trip is increasingly challenging in the current global situation.

“As a responsible promoter, we will make whatever decisions are required, not only to ensure compliance with health requirements, but also to compensate for the operational and financial impacts on our organization should the GPCQM be held under the conditions now prevailing,” the statement read. “In these difficult and uncertain times, our priority remains the health and safety of everyone.”