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World Cup round in Portugal canceled due to coronavirus

The upcoming Cape Epic in South Africa will be held as scheduled as the mountain bike calendar is seeing adjustments.

Now the coronavirus scare is hitting the international mountain bike circuit.

The UCI confirmed Wednesday the opening round of the 2020 Mercedes-Benz UCI Mountain Bike World Cup series will not be held as scheduled March 21-22 in Lousa, Portugal.

Local health authorities made the decision Tuesday in light of the growing spread of coronavirus in Portugal. Officials said they hope to reschedule the downhill event at a later date.

The cancelation makes it the first major international mountain bike event to be impacted by the coronavirus scare.

Upcoming world cup rounds include two downhill races scheduled in May, in Slovenia and Croatia, respectively, before the first cross-country round slated for May 23-24 in the Czech Republic. Stops in the series are qualifiers for the Olympic Games and include Andorra on June 21-22, and the cross-country world championships in Germany on June 26-28. So far, all of those events remain on the calendar.

In Italy, regional mountain-bike events have already been postponed due to the growing health crisis there that saw a slate of spring road races canceled or rescheduled. Last week, officials in California postponed the Sea Otter Classic to an undetermined date.

On Tuesday, officials in South Africa confirmed the upcoming Cape Epic will be held as scheduled starting this weekend March 15-22.