Communiqué – 15 May

Tour of Britain postponed; eRacing round-up; Junior Lockdown Race Series launches; domestic calendar decimated

It’s been a while since our last news summary, so here’s a quick Friday round-up of some of the latest domestic cycling news.

And yes, we realise the featured photo isn’t that relevant to the news we have in store for you. Nonetheless, we thought it might be a nice antidote! It comes from David Hares’ brilliant gallery from the Salisbury round of the Tour Series last year.

Tour of Britain postponed

As announced yesterday, the UK’s flagship men’s stage race has been postponed until 2021 amidst uncertainties about the logistical and public safety challenges of holding the race this year.

With the Women’s Tour and the Tour Series already cancelled this year, it means none of Sweetspot’s races will happen in 2020. Provisional dates for next year’s race are 5-12 September. It will follow the same route that had been planned for 2021. Read more here.

eRacing comes to the fore

Love it or loathe it, eRacing has come into its own during lockdown. Riders want to compete, teams want publicity and virtual cycling platforms want subscribers. Live eRacing has now even made it on to Eurosport.

Domestic teams and riders have been amongst those in virtual race action. Welsh rider Leah Dixon, in particular, has made a name for herself, performing strongly in Zwift’s Tour for All series against some top-class competition. Her win on stage 4 in reduced bunch sprint finish was especially impressive.

On the men’s side, Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother’s Chris McGinchley also shone brightly with some eye-catching performances in the Zwift Classics Pro-Am series event, including a win in the final Crit City Slam round. It was also good to see 2017 Rutland–Melton CiCLE Classic winner Dan Fleeman take the Richmond Challenge round of the series.

Junior Lockdown Race Series launches

Juniors want to race too, and a new collaboration between Tofauti Everyone Active junior team and RGT Cycling now means they can. The inaugural Junior Lockdown Race Series, held on the free virtual cycling app, launched last weekend with over 130 riders registering to race. The six-race junior series is based on British Cycling’s National Junior Series event courses.

The first event, consisting of both male and female races, took place on the same courses as the cancelled Hatherleigh and Witham Hall Junior National road races. Riders from the UK, Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Denmark, Norway, Spain, Luxembourg, Slovakia and South Africa signed up to ride, with Brit George Wood of Spokes RT taking the win in the junior men’s race. Dutch rider Petra Welmers won the women’s race ahead of Zoe Backstedt of Storey Racing.

Race two takes place this Saturday 16th May, taking in the Isle on Man’s iconic TT circuit. The junior men’s race starts at 14:00 BST, and the junior women at 16:00 BST. Entry is limited to riders born in 2002 and 2003 for the men’s race and 2002 – 2005 for the women’s race. Riders can register by downloading the RGT Cycling app and signing up for the relevant race via the following link. 70 juniors have already signed up with many more registrations expected ahead of Saturday.

The third and final race in the series will take place on the closing 31 kilometres of the CiCLE Classic course, albeit without the off-road sectors, another good opportunity to test the legs against some of the best junior riders from around the world.

Domestic road race calendar decimated

Back on the road, the UCI has put together a revised international racing calendar, aiming to fit in three Grand Tours and plenty more in the latter part of the year. How feasible that is remains to be seen.

What is clear, however, is that a large part of the domestic calendar won’t go ahead this year, whatever now happens. British Cycling had already announced that all sanctioned races were suspended until 30 June. This had effectively postponed or cancelled a number of National Road Series and other events including the Tour of the Reservoir, the Beaumont Trophy/Curlew Cup, the National Road Championships and the Rapha Lincoln Grand Prix. The latter hopes to run instead on 16th August this year.

Thomas Stewart (Canyon dhb P / B Bloor Homes) wins the 2019 Chestnut Homes Lincoln Grand Prix. Photo: John Smith

Since then, the new UCI calendar has scheduled in national championships to take place the week ending 23 August. British Cycling has confirmed it is looking into the possibility of holding the British championships in this slot.

British Cycling has also now revealed that a host of races in July will either be suspended or cancelled. These are:

  • 3rd July – Wales Open Criterium (to be rescheduled)
  • 5th July – HSBC UK | National Youth Circuit Championships at the LVYCC Festival (to be rescheduled)
  • 5th July – 7th Junior Men’s CiCLE Classic (cancelled)
  • 5th July – 5th Women’s CiCLE Classic (cancelled)
  • 5th July – Circuit of the Mendips (to be rescheduled)
  • 12th July – Stockton Cycling Festival Grand Prix (cancelled)
  • 12th July – Scarborough Festival of Cycling (cancelled)
  • 18th July – HSBC UK | Junior National Time Trial Championships (cancelled)
  • 19th July – HSBC UK | Junior National Road Race Championships (to be rescheduled)
  • 19th July – The Grasscrete Ryedale Grand Prix (cancelled)
  • 21st July – Fort Vale Colne Grand Prix (cancelled)

Sadly, with the Tour of Britain also now off the calendar, it seems that very few – if any – UCI or top elite-level races will happen in the UK in 2020.