News

GP Québec and GP Montréal cancel due to COVID complications

One-day races cancel due to difficulties over border restrictions and limits on public gatherings.

Organizers of the Grand Prix Cycliste Québec and Grand Prix Cycliste Montréal have thrown in the towel and canceled their races for 2020. The two one-day events, originally scheduled for September 11 and 13, will return in 2021.

Race organizers confirmed the news Thursday after placing the race under a holding pattern last week. 14-day quarantine procedures for those entering Canada’s borders, which are highly restricted through August 31, and limitations on large public events had led to race heads warning that they were reviewing the feasibility of holding the races.

Serge Arsenault, president of the race committee, made the final call Thursday to cancel September’s races.

“These past few months, we have worked tirelessly to organize our races in strictest compliance with health requirements, striving to address the various scenarios and staying in constant touch with the authorities concerned,” Arsenault said. “Today, there are still too many unresolved questions – for example, opening of borders, mandatory quarantine, and authorization to hold public gatherings. To delay this decision any longer would have been neither responsible nor respectful of all the parties who have placed their trust in us since 2010.

“Obviously, we are deeply saddened to have to ‘press pause’ on our races … Our primary duty, however, is to the riders, the teams, the fans, and our partners.”

The news strikes a blow for racing in the Americas after the shuttering of a swathe of 2020 races, including the Amgen Tour of California.

“It is definitely sad for these two races,” Michael Matthews (Sunweb) told VeloNews. The Australian has won the past two editions of GP Québec and the 2018 GP Montréal.

“So many riders love going there and doing such races as they don’t get a lot of opportunity to do them,” Matthews said. “But it is understandable because it was just going to be so hard to get everybody there with the long distances etc. It is for the best for the athletes, the organizers and the fans because right now we just have to get this virus under control.”