British Cycling has suspended all sanctioned events until at least the end of April as a result of the coroonavirus crisis.
In a tweet, the governing body said: “Unfortunately we have suspended all of our sanctioned cycling activities initially until April 30.
“We have done this to take the necessary steps to protect the health and wellbeing of riders, officials, volunteers and spectators.”
While events including racing, sportives and British Cycling’s portfolio of recreational rides are subject to the suspension, British Cycling said: “Keeping active remains important and so long as you follow the relevant guidance with regards to social distancing and hygiene, you can still go out on your bike.”
Events subject to the suspension include:
Competitive events at all levels
Non-competitive, registered events (eg sportives, reliability trials)
Recreational rides (throughout our suite of programmes including HSBC UK Breeze, HSBC UK Guided Rides, HSBC UK Ride Social, Let’s Ride Pop-up)
All educational courses or activities (eg coaching courses, Ride Leader courses, commissaire courses).
British Cycling said that the decision had been taken “to protect the health and wellbeing of riders, officials, volunteers and spectators, and alleviate the risk of an additional burden on the emergency services at what is a hugely testing time.
“We would strongly encourage all levels of the cycling community to join with British Cycling and the rest of the country in doing all we can to halt the spread of the virus in the midst of what is an unprecedented situation, however we recognise that this news will be disappointing, and potentially worrying, for some.”
The organisation’s chief executive, Julie Harrington, said: “This was not a decision taken lightly and it is one we have taken in close cooperation with our colleagues at Scottish Cycling and Welsh Cycling.
“We fully understand and appreciate the financial, social and community impact that this suspension could have, and we are working now to ensure that cycling is in the best possible health once the suspension can be lifted.
“As I’m sure everyone can appreciate, these are truly unprecedented circumstances, and while we will be doing all we can to retain a sense of normality and continuity, it may take some time to return to full capacity as an organisation and as a sport once this situation has been resolved.
“We will continue to update our members with more information, and will be doing everything within our power to support those who have contributed to the rich cycling culture that this country boasts,” she added.
Full details of British Cycling’s guidance can be found here, and separate guidance has also been provided by Scottish Cycling and Welsh Cycling, both of which have also suspended sanctioned events until the end of April, following guidance from the devolved administrations in those countries.
Mass participation events due to take place next month including the Dirty Reiver in the Lake District, the Hell of the North Cotswolds, and the Etape Loch Ness had all been confirmed as being postponed or cancelled ahead of this morning’s announcement.
British Cycling said: “Any participant who had paid to enter an event before April 30 will be issued with a refund in due course. We are working alongside event organisers to ensure that this process is as efficient as possible.”
It added: “Those organisers whose events are due to take place after April 30 are advised that British Cycling will issue further advice as and when Government guidance progresses.
“We appreciate that organisers will be making their own contingency plans, and may need to cancel events post-April 30 to provide certainty.”
The governing body also said: “Our guidance to professional riders and those on the World Class Programme is that they can continue to train, including group activity.”
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.