Road

2020 calendar facing amendments as Italian races request re-shuffles and Belgian nationals postpone

Italian federation calls for Il Lombardia to be moved from October to mid-August and Milano-Sanremo to be delayed two weeks.

The UCI’s initial calendar of WorldTour races and national championships was revealed last week, and while it was hailed as a beacon of hope for struggling teams and nervous riders, it was widely regarded as a best-case wish-list at best.

Just over a week later, the schedule looks set to change as European cycling federations start to schedule their calendars of lower-tier races and attempt to map out what is feasible in a world only cautiously emerging from confinement.

This week has seen the postponement of the Dutch and Belgian national championships, and requests from Italian authorities for a re-shuffling of Il Lombardia and Milano-Sanremo in the UCI’s schedule.

The Italian Cycling Federation is reported in La Gazetta Dello Sport to have requested to move Il Lombardia from late fall forward to August 8, making it the second WorldTour race of the re-started season. The move would require Milano-Sanremo to move from its current date back to August 22. The Italian national championships, currently scheduled with all other national road races on August 22-23, would move to October 31, taking the berth freed up by the move of Il Lombardia.

“We hope to have August packed with our classics, including Il Lombardia, Milano-Sanremo, Milano-Torino, and the Giro dell’Emilia,” said Enzo Ghigo, representative of the Italian Cycling Federation. “They can be used to prepare for the Giro d’Italia, the world championships, and the cobbled classics.”

Belgian authorities are also calling for a postponement of their national championships from their current August date. At present, mass sporting events in the country are only to be permitted from September onward, leadingĀ  Belgian Cycling president Tom Van Damme to confirm to Het Laaste Nieuws Wednesday that “there will be no Belgian championship on the road in August.” The Belgian Federation is now looking for space for the event later in the fall.

Across the border in the Netherlands, the Dutch nationals have been canceled altogether. Like Belgium, large public gatherings are prohibited through September, and so Dutch authorities have decided to wait until 2021 to host their event rather than battle for space in an already-crowded 2020 calendar.

“There seems to be no space for the elite national championships,” Dutch federation director Thorwald Veneberg told Sporza this week. “The calendar for this autumn is already a calendar of hope. The question is whether such large events should be organized by then.”

The men’s calendar as confirmed last week. Image: UCI