This year's Prudential RideLondon, due to have been held on the weekend of 15 and 16 August, has been cancelled as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Organisers have promised that all entrants as well as charities will be refunded in full for their places.
The decision to cancel the two-day event was taken by London authorities following consultation with partners involved in the event.
The weekend had been due to feature four mass participation events - the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 19, 46 and 100 sportives, plus Prudential RideLondon FreeCycle, as well as the Prudential RideLondon Cycling Show at ExCeL London and the Brompton World Championship Final.
It also included two professional races, the UCI WorldTour event, Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic and Women's World Tour event, Prudential RideLondon Classique.
Both of those were included in the revised 2020 racing calendar issued easrlier this month by the UCI, and are the first top-tier races to be cancelled from the updated schedule.
Last year's event attracted 100,000 participants across all events, and since it was first held in 2013, it has raised £77 million for charity.
Billed as a legacy of the 2012 Olympic Games, the event has been sponsored from the beginning by Prudential, who are ending their involvement this year, and a new partner is being sought for 2020 onwards.
Will Norman, the Mayor’s Walking & Cycling Commissioner, said: “RideLondon has been one of the highlights of the capital’s event calendar for the last seven years, so it is obviously disappointing that it cannot be staged this year.
“This summer we hope that millions of Londoners will alter their travel habits by making journeys by bike instead of driving or using public transport.
“But it is absolutely the right decision to cancel this year’s event to ensure the safety of everyone involved and we all look forward to welcoming RideLondon back again in the near future.
“The Mayor and I would like to thank Prudential, in their final year as title sponsors, for their support over the last seven years. We are already excited about the next RideLondon event.”
Hugh Brasher, Event Director of Prudential RideLondon, said: “We know how disappointing this news will be to the tens of thousands of riders who were hoping to participate in one of the fantastic events in the world’s greatest festival of cycling, for the thousands of charities that would have benefited from fundraising and for the world’s best professional cyclists who love racing on the streets of London and Surrey, but I am sure everyone will understand why this decision has been made.
“All participants and charities that bought places in the 2020 Prudential RideLondon will be refunded their entry fee in full," he continued, a stark contrast to that adopted by the organisers of Vélo Birmingham & Midlands, where no refund was offered, and Vélo Essex, where only 45 per cent of the entry fee was returned.
“We are currently working with Prudential and the Mayor’s Office to see how we can celebrate the event weekend of 15 and 16 August.”
He added: “2021 will be the first year of a new contract to deliver RideLondon and, with the current unknowns about the short-term future for mass participation events and the importance of inspiring as many people as possible to cycle more often, we’re taking the opportunity to fully review the format and timing of the event over the next few months.”
Brasher added: “We know that there will be many, many questions from riders, charities and others and we ask you to please bear with us as we work through all the detail. We expect to be in a position to provide full updates to participants and charities by the middle of June. We will also post regular updates on our website and social media channels.”
Further information is available on the official website here.
Besides looking for a new sponsor, RideLondon may also see route changes in future for the men's road race and the sportives on the Sunday.
Earlier this year, Surrey County Council held a consultation about whether it should continue to host the event on its roads, including the climbs of Box Hill and Leith Hill.
Launching the consultation in January, it said that “If the Cabinet agrees not to host the event in Surrey, we are committed to run the event for the last time in 2021 in order to enable the event organisers enough time to find an alternative host.
“If the event continues to be hosted by Surrey it would be along a similar route with possible changes for operational reasons.”
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.