Restrictions on cycling set to be lifted in France, Italy and Spain

A number of European countries banned recreational cycling, but the rules are being relaxed

(Image credit: AFP via Getty Images)

Welcome news for both pros and amateurs is emerging from Spain, Italy and France, as the three nations are expected to ease cycling bans next month.

During the coronavirus crisis, many European nations have enforced strict lockdown rules including a ban on recreational cycling, with many professionals being caught up in the restrictions.

Riders like Chris Froome, Rohan Dennis, and Hannah Barnes have all found themselves restricted to training indoors as governments try to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced on Sunday (April 27) that the nation would begin lifting its lockdown restrictions from Monday, May 4, including allowing athletes to return to training while amateurs will also be allowed to exercise outside their own homes.

Spain is now allowing children under the age of 14 out of their homes for the first time in six weeks, while adults should be allowed back outside, including to ride their bikes, in May.

French newspaper L’Equipe reports that the government is expected to announce an ease on lockdown restrictions this week, including cycling, from May 11.

But the governments are still encouraging people to remain vigilant, including continuing to adhere to social distancing measures to prevent a second spike in coronavirus cases.

Italy, the first European nation to introduce strict measures, has been under nationwide lockdown since March 9, with a state of emergency following in Spain on March 14.

France then when into lockdown on March 17.

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The UK didn’t go into lockdown until March 23, with the government relying on much softer measures, closing non-essential shops, encouraging social distancing, and still allowing residents outside to exercise once a day.

Pro riders have been impacted by the European lockdowns, with Chris Froome turning to Zwift for training at his home near Nice, Rohan Dennis speaking about his struggles with life under lockdown in Girona, and Hannah Barnes discussing training while trapped at altitude in Andorra. 

In the UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday (April 27) that it was too soon to ease lockdown measures any further.

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