The 2020 World Championships in Switzerland have been cancelled 

Doubts about the fate of the Worlds due to coronavirus have been confirmed 

Yorkshire Worlds 2019 (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The 2020 World Championships in Switzerland have been cancelled due to the coronavirus crisis. 

While the road Worlds were initially given the green light back in June to go ahead despite the pandemic, doubts emerged because of the local health regulations in the Aigle-Martigny area.

Then on Tuesday (August 12), news emerged that the 2020 World Championships would be cancelled because authorities in Switzerland have extended the ban on sports gatherings of more than 1,000 people. 

Speculation that the Worlds, which were scheduled for September 20-27, could be cancelled emerged last week as the government were due to reassess the restrictions on sporting events, initially due to be lifted at the end of August.  

But as coronavirus cases have risen over the last few days, the Swiss government decided to extend the ban on large sporting events until October 1. 

The UCI says it now intends to find an alternative location to hold the Worlds, with a similar climbing profile to the scheduled race in Switzerland.

Grégory Devaud and Alexandre Debons, co-chairs of the event's organising committee, said: "We are sad and disappointed.

"We have worked hard for almost two years to deliver a magnificent event on an extraordinary course. Despite the constraints of the COVID-19 pandemic, we continued to work with passion for organising UCI Road World Championships which should remain in memories by their sporting value but also by the beauty of the landscapes of our cantons and the richness of our culture and our land.

"We are aware that the national and global health situation requires precautionary measures and we think highly of all those who have been affected by this scourge.”

Organisers said that with 1,200 riders expected to take part across 11 events, and with the number of fans who would attend, it would be impossible to hold the event safely within the guidelines set out by health authorities.

The Worlds were due to kick off on Sunday, September 20 with the elite men’s time trial, which would have clashed with the final day of the Tour de France in Paris. 

While the week-long event was thrown into doubt when the UCI suspended all racing back in March, cycling fans were given fresh hope that the Worlds would go ahead when the organisers announced in June that the Aigle-Martigny 2020 championships would go ahead.

Elite racing returned in July with the Vuelta a Burgos, followed by the first WorldTour race of the reset season, Strade Bianche on August 1. 

But despite the continuation of WorldTour racing at the Critérium du Dauphiné, the Worlds will not go ahead in Switzerland. 

Earlier this year loose plans emerged to hold the World Championships in the Middle East if they could not be held in Switzerland, but these were later abandoned.  

The UCI said it will work to find an alternative location in Europe on the same dates, with a route as challenging as the Swiss courses.

A decision on a new venue will be made by August 1, the UCI said.

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Alex is the 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 and now as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output.

Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) and joining CW in 2018, Alex has 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 journalism, Alex is a national level time triallist, avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.