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Confirmed UCI world road cycling championships schedule rankles some

The UCI plan sticks with traditional Sunday to Sunday dates, despite coronavirus calendar crunch.

Some were dismayed, Tuesday, when 2020 world championship organizers in Switzerland confirmed its racing dates over two weekends in September.

With organizers across Europe scrambling to try to find openings on the calendar after a flood of race cancellations, the UCI-owned 2020 world road cycling championships will be held as scheduled across eight days in late September, officials confirmed Tuesday.

Not everyone was pleased. Richard Plugge, manager of Jumbo-Visma, wondered if the worlds organizers should make adjustments in light of the coronavirus crisis.

“Organizers could use that first weekend to fill with a classic,” Plugge said in a message to VeloNews. “The UCI should think of the whole cycling world and all stakeholders, instead of only their own race.”

Late last week, the UCI gave the green light to the 2020 worlds racing schedule, which will run from Sunday to Sunday, from September 20-27.

The worlds schedule has been tweaked for 2020, with the elite men’s time trial opening racing on the first Sunday, followed by two more days of women’s, U23 and junior time trial events. Three days of road racing begins Friday.

Typically, time trial races were held mid-week, and the opening Sunday was used for the now-defunct trade team time trial. That’s been replaced by the mixed team relay, a unique time trial event with both men and women racing together. After concerns that the event conflicted with individual time trial races, the mixed team relay was moved from Sunday to Wednesday on the revised schedule, slotting in after three days of solo racing against the clock.

That might have been fine under normal circumstances, but after having a wave of race cancellations due to the coronavirus crisis sweeping Europe, some were dismayed to see the worlds schedule confirmed over parts of two weekends when such races as the Giro d’Italia and the early season monuments are now looking for new places on the calendar.

“In my opinion, the UCI should not send this out now when the ‘cycling families’ are discussing the calendar of hopefully a remaining season,” Plugge said. “It feels like, ‘my own race first.’”

Some suggested that the team relay event could be scrapped in 2020, thus keeping the worlds within a one-week window, and opening up the weekend of September 19-20 to schedule one of the many races from March to May that are now canceled or postponed.

So far, the UCI has said that existing races on the calendar will be given preference despite the ongoing turmoil.

“The approval of the events program is an important step, and especially symbolic given the current situation,” said Alexandre Debons, co-president of the organizing management for hosting the event.

Other races could be scheduled Saturday and even Sunday of the event’s opening weekend, but it would create a conflict between the high-profile worlds and any rescheduled race that might fall into that slot.

UCI officials confirmed that they are working to create a roadmap for the second half of the 2020 calendar. That assumes, of course, if conditions improve sufficiently to resume racing.

Schedule for 2020 Aigle-Martigny UCI world championships
Sunday, 20 September: men’s time trial
Monday, 21 September: U23, women’s time trial
Tuesday, 22 September: junior men’s and women’s time trial
Wednesday, 23 September: team time trial mixed relay
Thursday, 24 September: no racing, road race training
Friday, 25 September: junior women’s, U23 road racing, UCI Congress
Saturday, 26 September: junior men’s, women’s road racing
Sunday, 27 September: men’s road race