Amstel Gold Race 2020 has been cancelled because of the coronavirus situation in the Netherlands.
Both the men’s and women’s editions of the prestigious Dutch one-day race have been called of as authorities have tightened Covid-19 restrictions in the country as cases continue to rise.
Amstel Gold Race had already been postponed from its regular spot in the calendar in mid-April due to the pandemic, but the event has now been cancelled altogether for 2020.
The race, scheduled for October 10, passes through three Dutch municipalities - Eijsden-Margraten, Masstricht, and Valkenburg aan de Geul - but the authorities have ruled it is not safe to hold the race under new restrictions, which ban the public from attending sporting events.
Mayor of Valkenburg aan de Geul, Jan Schrijen, said: “Until last Monday, we were 95 per cent convinced that the Amstel Gold Race could continue with a closed course. Due to the new measure, sports events can only take place without an audience. The three municipalities and the Safety Region have come to the conclusion that it is impossible to organise the Amstel Gold Race, even on a closed course, without spectators. Residents and holidaymakers staying in the region cannot be denied access. And that means there is no guarantee that the course will be public-free. It is very unpleasant for the organisation, which, together with the municipalities and the Safety Region, has done everything to ensure that the Amstel Gold Race takes place in a safe manner.”
The new restrictions in the Netherlands have also impacted the BinckBank Tour, with organises forced to cancel the stage two time trial and redesign stages three and four because the Dutch regions hosting the race have banned bike racing.
Race director of Amstel Gold, Leo van Vliet, said: “The past months have been very intensive. The Covid-19 pandemic makes the organisation of the Amstel Gold Race very complex. We have been working on a Corona-proof for a long time Amstel Gold Race where we could keep the course intact. In recent weeks it has become increasingly clear that a route through South Limburg, with passages in ten municipalities, was unfeasible. That is why we have worked carefully on a new plan with a smaller orbit of 16.9 kilometres. The course and the area around the course would be hermetically sealed to the public to prevent crowds and to guarantee a 1.5 meter distance. On Monday we were fully prepared to announce this to the world, but the new measures announced by the cabinet later that evening meant that the plans had to be revised again. With the condition ‘no public’, this was an almost impossible task.”
Van Vliet said the race will return in 2021.
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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.
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