Joe Martin Stage Race 2020 canceled due to coronavirus

Impact of COVID-19 in Arkansas and related travel restrictions force postponement to April 2021.

The 2020 Joe Martin Stage Race is the latest to fall foul of the coronavirus pandemic.

Organizers confirmed Friday that this year’s event has been canceled and will return April 8 – 11, 2021.

The race had already postponed from its traditional April slot with a view to returning to Fayetteville, Arkansas, this August. However, race organizers stated Friday that “the impact of COVID-19 in Northwest Arkansas along with event and travel restrictions” posed too many obstacles to participating athletes and local communities to successfully hold the event this summer.

The news comes in the wake of a recent upturn in coronavirus cases in the U.S., with the Washington Post stating that a record 70,000 cases were reported Thursday.

“These decisions are difficult, but public health and safety are always our primary concern,” said race director Bruce Dunn. “We are especially thankful to Experience Fayetteville and our local and national sponsors standing with us to continue our goal of holding an international stage race.

“We are extremely grateful to the pro and domestic peloton for their patience and understanding, and their willingness to find a path forward. USA Cycling and the UCI were supportive of holding the event if we could meet local and state guidelines, but the conditions just weren’t safe for all concerned.”

The confirmed cancelation for 2020 puts a cap on a tough year for U.S. races, which has previously seen the shuttering of the Cascade Cycling Classic, Tour of the Gila, Redlands Classic, and Tour of Utah.

The Joe Martin Stage Race, which has already held 42 editions, including six as part of the UCI calendar, ran a virtual three-stage race on Zwift last month.