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More tweaks to Italian calendar as Il Lombardia gets new date

Officials juggling new dates for San Remo and Lombardia in August in effort to keep everyone happy.

Italian dates on the revamped racing calendar are receiving what looks to be a final tweak in what appears to be a situation suitable for everyone.

Behind the scenes, officials at the UCI, the Italian cycling federation, race organizers and local politicians have been jostling to find the best spot in August for some of cycling’s most important one-day races.

It appears a compromise has been hammered out, with the UCI expected to sign off on the new dates shortly. According to Italian newspaper Il Messaggero, Milano-Sanremo will be raced on August 8, and Il Lombardia will be held on August 15. While Sanremo was always slated for that date, Il Lombardia was originally planned for October 29.

“It’s an excellent compromise,” Italian federation president Renato Di Rocco told the paper. “It would have been nice to have had the holiday-makers on the side of the road to cheer the riders. In this difficult period, we have to think about starting in the best way possible, with the acknowledgment that there will be important races.”

Disagreement over the dates spilled out this week as Italian race organizers RCS Sport were hoping to schedule some of their top one-day races in August, but kept butting up against other events.

Initially, there was talk to move Sanremo to the final weekend before the start of the Tour de France (August 29 to September 20), but that conflicted with dates for national championship races across much of Europe. Also, politicians across Italy’s Riviera didn’t want road closures that come with San Remo to conflict with what would be Italy’s first important tourist weekend in late August after months of lockdown. Officials also wanted to move Lombardia, which was originally scheduled for fall, into August as well.

The give-and-take reveals how the coronavirus and race stoppage continues to play out behind the scenes as cycling’s stakeholders try to salvage something from the 2020 racing season.

While things are looking better for a return to some semblance of racing later this summer — the Vuelta a Burgos (July 28 to August 1) and Strade Bianche on August 1 are the first major men’s races back on the calendar — there are dozens of races that have simply thrown in the towel for 2020, and will hope things are back to normal in 2021.