British Cycling releases update on return of racing and financial concerns

We could see the return of most disciplines in the coming weeks, but the governing body has also announced job cuts

(Image credit: Getty Images)

British Cycling has confirmed the next steps to the returning of bike racing after the coronavirus lockdown.

The national body has submitted its action plan to government for a return of cycling events in England, in the hopes of a phased reintroduction from August 1 after four-months without events.

British Cycling hopes to reintroduce all disciplines except for road racing, which will be reviewed again in August along with sportives and other events that use public highways, which BC says are currently not safe to run.

Delivery director at the organisation, Dani Every said: “For many the return of events may seem like a daunting prospect, and we fully understand that some of our organisers, officials and volunteers will not yet be ready to resume their roles. Our team is continuing to work with all those involved in the delivery of our sport to offer support and guidance, and we will continue to adapt our framework to reflect emerging best practice over the coming weeks and months.”

British Cycling will be hosting regional and discipline-specific webinars to get feedback from organisers.

Every added: “We believe that our action plan is a comprehensive and sensible next step in what will be phased return of competitive grassroots cycling, and one which equips our event organisers with the tools and confidence to deliver their activities in a Covid-secure manner.”

National sporting bodies have been asked to submit action plans to the government on July 10 and in its document British Cycling has set out hygiene protocols, test and trace procedures, and changes for each discipline.

The plan will be made public next week.

British Cycling said there is still no date for when all competitive and non-competitive formats will be reintroduced.

Every said: “We are keenly aware that many within our sport will have been hoping for a return to road racing, and I want to take the opportunity to reassure them that we are working hard to lay the groundwork for its return, but this can only happen once the relevant government and public health guidelines permit.

"This clearly presents a much greater challenge than more contained, facility-based events, however we will be entering discussions with sportive organisers on the adaptations required to safely deliver their events, in the hope that we can restart some activities soon.”

The body gave an update on the points and category systems – no riders will be moved down a licence category at the end of the year.

British Cycling has also released details on the financial uncertain caused by coronavirus, having previously announced it expects to lose £4 million due to the global crisis.

There will be 38 roles made redundant at BC in an attempt to mitigate the financial losses, with seven of those jobs currently vacant so 31 staff would be affected.

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Chief executive Julie Harrington said: “This is a decision we would rather not have to make but one we are taking in a measured way and with due care for the well-being of our employees.

“As a not-for-profit organisation, all revenues we make are invested in cycling and these steps are necessary so that we can continue to deliver on our three strategic priorities – a healthy domestic sport, growing participation, and supporting our most talented riders to achieve their best."

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Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.