Spain’s five-day Vuelta a Burgos could have one of its best fields ever — if local authorities give the green light.
Reports in local media, however, suggest that government officials have already decided to not hold this year’s race, scheduled for July 28-August 1, due in part to costs in light of the coronavirus crisis gripping Spain. A confirmation whether or not the race will be held is expected by Tuesday.
The looming decision is significant because the Burgos race, slated for a route across northern Spain with a mix of climbs and sprints, would be the first major race for WorldTour teams since Paris-Nice in March.
“We are waiting to hear on Burgos,” Mitchelton-Scott sport director Matt White told VeloNews. “It’s planned to be our first race back. We hope to be able to race it, but it’s up to the local government to decide.”
Along with Mitchelton-Scott, several other WorldTour teams are expected to start the second-tier ProSeries race, including Movistar, Israel Start-Up Nation, and other teams with a strong nucleus of riders in Girona, Spain, or nearby Andorra.
With racing on hold since mid-March, teams and riders are keen to get back into action as soon as possible as a revised racing calendar looms, even more so with the Tour de France scheduled to run August 29 to September 20.
Races, however, continue to drop off the calendar. Last week, the Tour of Denmark, the Presidential Tour of Turkey, and the Prudential RideLondon Surrey Classic were among the latest European events to be canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Racing officials, however, remain optimistic that racing can resume across Europe later this summer as restrictions continue to ease in Italy, Spain and France. Pro riders are already allowed to train unhindered in most nations, and travel restrictions are expected to be lifted by July 1 in Spain, allowing teams to bring in riders and staffers for Burgos if it happens.
The Sibiu Tour, a lower tier race in Romania, remains on the schedule for July 2-5, and officials said last week they still plan to hold the race, which could draw second-tier and continental-level teams. Burgos is important because WorldTour teams would be allowed to start.
A full slate of WorldTour-level and ProSeries races are scheduled in August, beginning with Strade Bianche on August 1. The French calendar lines up nicely, with the Tour de l’Ain, Critérium du Dauphiné and some other dates scheduled ahead of the Tour’s rescheduled start in Nice, France, at the end of August. Officials are still waiting to finalize the Italian calendar, with the Giro di Lombardi expected to be moved up into August the weekend after Strade Bianche, and Milano-Sanremo being rescheduled a week later.
“Our riders have their new calendars,” White said. “We’re just waiting to hear about Burgos and if the Italian dates change a bit. Otherwise, everyone knows what they’ll be doing. After such a long break, everyone is excited to race again.”
White was quick to add that more last-minute changes and adjustments will be common in what’s already been a very uncommon season.