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Just a few weeks ago, it was looking like the Volta ao Algarve was going to celebrate its most successful edition ever. WorldTour teams were clamoring to start, and some of the peloton’s biggest names were slated to race.
Scratch that. Worsening coronavirus pandemic conditions in Portugal forced organizers to postpone the race, slated for February 17-21. Officials told teams Thursday morning, and they are hoping to reschedule in May.
“Postponement is a difficult decision,” a press statement read, “but it has become inevitable given the evolution of the pandemic situation in Portugal.”
The announcement is the latest blow for teams hoping to build a busy race calendar in February across southern Europe.
With early season races canceled or postponed in Australia, the Middle East, and South America, teams that are currently training across Spain were eyeing up long-running early-season European races to fill out their calendars.
A few races in Spain have already been canceled or postponed, including the Mallorca Challenge and the Vuelta a Murcia. Officials from the Clásica de Almería on Wednesday confirmed the start list for its race on February 14.
With the string of European race closures and worsening pandemic conditions across the continent, it appears teams are pivoting toward the UAE Tour. On Thursday, race officials announced a stellar start list that includes the likes of Tadej Pogačar, Chris Froome, and Mathieu van der Poel.