UCI president David Lappartient on coronavirus cancellations: 'I hope the Tour de France is the start of a new life'

Several races have already requested to be rescheduled to a slot in May, but Lappartient is concerned the calendar may become too crowded

(Image credit: AFP/Getty Images)

UCI President David Lappartient says he shall wait until March before any races are rescheduled, as the list of events postponed grows weekly.

Several races have been forced to cancel or postpone their events due to the Covid-19 pandemic, however a number of organisers have requested their races be rescheduled in May, a month that is already pretty packed with races including the Giro d'Italia and Critérium du Dauphiné.

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This leaves the UCI with some tricky decisions to make as they have to reorganise the race calendar once again, after having to do the same in 2020.

Among the races cancelled or postponed already this season are the Tour Down Under, the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana and the Volta ao Algarve.

Speaking in an interview with DirectVelo, the UCI President said: "We have taken the position that everything that can be ridden will be ridden, the road season has to start.

“Apart from the United Arab Emirates, travel movements outside Europe will be limited. Most races will be held in Europe. Some countries are almost completely in lockdown, other countries have strict rules. In Belgium we can race behind closed doors.

"I was at the Tour of Flanders [in 2020] and that worked very well. So actually the Belgian races are not up for discussion."

Lappartient said that a possible race block system will be made where multiple races take place in one country, much like what was done in Italy last year with Il Lombardia brought forward with Strade Bianche, Milan-San Remo and the other remaining Italian races at the start of the 2020 season restart.

But the main issue is that most races want to be put in the calendar before the Tour de France and, of course, the Olympic Games in Tokyo, which at the moment are still going ahead.

But despite all this, Lappartient is optimistic: "I hope that the Tour de France will be the start of a new life. The first half of the year will be difficult. Most countries are engaged in a difficult vaccination campaign and it will also be necessary to closely monitor the evolution of variants."

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Tim Bonville-Ginn

Hi, I'm one of Cycling Weekly's content writers for the web team responsible for writing stories on racing, tech, updating evergreen pages as well as the weekly email newsletter. Proud Yorkshireman from the UK's answer to Flanders, Calderdale, go check out the cobbled climbs!

I started watching cycling back in 2010, before all the hype around London 2012 and Bradley Wiggins at the Tour de France. In fact, it was Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck's battle in the fog up the Tourmalet on stage 17 of the Tour de France.

It took me a few more years to get into the journalism side of things, but I had a good idea I wanted to get into cycling journalism by the end of year nine at school and started doing voluntary work soon after. This got me a chance to go to the London Six Days, Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour of Britain to name a few before eventually joining Eurosport's online team while I was at uni, where I studied journalism. Eurosport gave me the opportunity to work at the world championships in Harrogate back in the awful weather.

After various bar jobs, I managed to get my way into Cycling Weekly in late February of 2020 where I mostly write about racing and everything around that as it's what I specialise in but don't be surprised to see my name on other news stories.

When not writing stories for the site, I don't really switch off my cycling side as I watch every race that is televised as well as being a rider myself and a regular user of the game Pro Cycling Manager. Maybe too regular.

My bike is a well used Specialized Tarmac SL4 when out on my local roads back in West Yorkshire as well as in northern Hampshire with the hills and mountains being my preferred terrain.