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Any hopes that the early season European racing calendar would be contested in cycling’s new normal of a “race bubble” are quickly evaporating.
Officials from the Spanish race — set to run February 17-21 in Spain’s Andalucía region — confirmed to teams Friday morning by email the race will try to be rescheduled for May. Officials from the Circuit de la Sarthe, originally scheduled for April 6-9, also confirmed it would cancel its 2021 edition.
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“Given the global health situation and the exceptional nature of the pandemic, and the resulting difficulties to organize cycling events given the emergency rules to be applied to reduce the risk of transmission … oblige us to be responsible,” Circuit race officials said after confirming the cancellation.
The news comes a day after officials from the Volta ao Algarve also postponed its February dates until May.
After a string of races were canceled in Australia, South America, and the Middle East, teams remain hopeful that races such as the UAE Tour and the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana in February will both be contested. Other February races in Spain and France, such as the Etoile de Bessèges, the Tour de Provence, and the Clásica de Almería, also remain on the calendar for now.
Teams have been able to hold pre-season training camps along Spain’s Costa Blanca and other areas without major disruptions, and just days ago, teams were optimistic there would be plenty of race days to fill February.
So far, the UCI has not made any public comments about the recent wave of race cancelations and postponements. With changing conditions across much of Europe, it is too early to say if cycling will have to try to reschedule its racing calendar in a similar way as 2020.