UCI president David Lappartient has spoken of the challenges facing his organization as they scramble to rearrange the 2020 cycling season.
“We must reconstruct the calendars, which are complicated depending on the discipline,” he said. “We are then working on the cancellation of World Cups, of world championships for different disciplines. We are also working on the road cycling calendar, which is not easy. I have started discussions with the team actors — the organizers, teams and of course the athletes, with whom I talk regularly and often.”
“We’re trying to find the best solution without extending the season beyond what is reasonable, but giving a date on which the season can resume,” Lappartient said. “We will try to protect what makes the richness of our sport, of course in road cycling, the grand tours and the monuments of our sport for both men and women.”
In the past week, the Tour de France and Olympic Games have both fallen in the spotlight. Recent reports have suggested that Tour de France organizers ASO are doing all they can to keep the race in its current summer slot, possibly by holding the event in a stripped-back format without roadside fans, while the IOC has confirmed the postponement of the Tokyo Games by 12 months, to summer 2021.
The postponement of the Olympics to summer 2021 both frees up space in the calendar between the Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana, and offers athletes a clear run at qualification events.
“It’s a wise decision and we support the decision of the International Olympic Committee,” Lappartient said. “We are working with them daily to evaluate the consequences for the qualification of the athletes, for their preparation, for the calendar in the years to come, in particular for 2021. You can count on the UCI to have a constructive dialogue with the IOC in this difficult period.”
Despite the bonus of gaining back the two-week Olympic period, Lappartient is still left with the puzzle of trying to fit the Giro d’Italia and spring classics into the fall while honoring the calendar slots of the races that are currently unaffected.
Lappartient closed out his message emphasizing that his team was doing all it could to put together the pieces of the calendar during a period of continued uncertainty.
“We will work to find the best solutions and ensure that we can reconstruct a solid calendar for the end of the season and to rediscover the passion that we all love,” he said. “But our priority for the moment is the protection of the population, the respect of the [health] rules to avoid the crisis spreading further.”
“You can count on the Union Cycliste Internationale to work during this period and to come back rapidly with projects for the calendars, that will enable us, we hope, to rediscover our favorite sport for the second half of the season.”