Paris-Roubaix has officially been postponed until the weekend of October 2-3 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under the new dates the men’s Paris-Roubaix will be held on Sunday, October 3, and the inaugural Paris Roubaix Femmes will be held Saturday, October 2.
The news was announced Thursday by the UCI in an official release.
“The Union Cycliste Internationale announced today that, in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2021 edition of Paris-Roubaix and Paris-Roubaix Femmes, both of which should have taken place on 11 April, have been postponed,” the release said. “The French events will take place on Saturday 2 October for the women and Sunday 3 October for the men.”
The release ends several weeks of speculation about the monument’s 2021 running. In mid March word began to circulate that French authorities might cancel the event outright due to surging COVID-19 infection rates in the country, and last week VeloNews reported that officials within the French cycling federation had been informed that the race was to be called off.
France has experienced another surge in COVID-19 infections in recent weeks, and on Wednesday French President Emmanuel Macron announced the start of a third national lockdown. Schools would be closed for at least three weeks, and the lockdown is expected to carry on through much of April.
The surging infection rates sent doubts through the peloton that Paris-Roubaix would occur, yet with no official word from organizer ASO or the UCI, there was still hope that the race could go forth with its original dates.
According to the UCI release, the October 2-3 dates were confirmed after the UCI met with various stakeholders, including the race organizers, teams, and riders.
“It was therefore essential to find, together with all parties concerned, an appropriate postponement date, in keeping with the status of this mythical event so much appreciated by riders and fans, and whose female riders are looking forward to competing in the inaugural women’s edition,” said UCI President David Lappartient in a release.
The new date creates a compelling late-season bloc of cobbled racing, with Paris-Roubaix now falling one week after the 2021 UCI road world championships, which are to be held in nearby Flanders. Both the men’s and women’s UCI road world championships courses include sections of cobbles, including the Moskestraat, and steep and punchy climbs.