Article first published 9 March. Latest update 21 March:
British Cycling have suspended all racing and affiliated sportives until 30 April 2020. If you are booked to ride an event before that date, please assume it has been cancelled or postponed and contact the organisers with any queries.
For sportives scheduled to take place after 30 April, there is still a likelihood that many will be affected. Please see the event website for the latest news.
Below is a list of some of the major events that have been affected.
- Granfondo Strade Bianche - 8 March - Cancelled
- Paris-Nice Challenge - 14 March 2020 - Cancelled
- Dwars Door Vlaanderen Cyclo - 21 March - Postponed, new date TBC
- Battle of Bradfield Sportive - 22 March - Postponed, new date TBC
- CFC's Meon Vale Spring Sportive - 22 March - Cancelled
- Suffolk Spring Classic Sportive - 22 March - Postponed, new date TBC
- London Bike Show - 27-29 March - Postponed to 3-5 July 2020
- Gent-Wevelgem - 28 March - Postponed, new date TBC
- KOM Sportive - 28 March - Postponed, new date TBC
- Ridgeway Rouleur - 29 March - Postponed, new date TBC
- Mad March Hare - 29 March - Cancelled
- Cheshire Cat Sportive - 29 March - Postponed to 20 September 2020
- Tour of Flanders Sportive (We Ride Flanders) - 4 April - Postponed, new date TBC
- Scheldeprijs Cyclo - 11 April - Postponed, new date TBC
- Paris-Roubaix sportive - 11 April - Postponed, new date TBC
- Rapha Day in Hell Manchester - 11 April - Postponed, new date TBC
- Rapha Day in Hell London - 12 April - Postponed, new date TBC
- Dirty Reiver - 18 April - Postponed, new date TBC
- Brabantse Pijl Cyclo - 18 April - Postponed, new date TBC
- Amstel Gold Race sportive - 18 April - Cancelled
- New Forest Spring Sportive & Cycling Festival - 18/19 April - Postponed, new date TBC
- Mallorca 312 - 25 April - Postponed to 10 October 2020
- Liege-Bastogne-Liege sportive - 25 April - Postponed, new date TBC
- Etape Loch Ness - 26 April - Postponed to 13 September 2020
- Bespoked Handmade Bicycle Show - 1-3 May - Postponed to 16-18 October 2020
- Tour de Yorkshire Ride - 3 May - Postponed, new date TBC
- The Gert Lush - 3 May - Postponed to 6 September 2020
- Black Rat Sportive - 17 May - Postponed to 20 September 2020
- Etape Caledonia - 17 May - Postponed, new date TBC
- Tour of Cambridgeshire - 7 June - Cancelled, all entries deferred to 2021
- Velo Birmingham & Midlands - 21 June - Cancelled
With last weekend's Granfondo Strade Bianche postponed amid concerns over coronavirus (COVID-19), cyclists booked on European and UK sportives may be questioning whether their events will go ahead - and whether it's safe to take part.
First run in 2007, the Strade Bianche is cycling's newest classic. In a reversal of usual affairs the sportive predates the race, which is a spin-off of the Granfondo Eroica Strade Bianche.
This year's Granfondo was set to take place on Sunday 8 March, the day after the pro race. However, with large parts of Italy subjected to lockdown all racing was cancelled - meaning that organisers RCS announced late last week that the Granfondo Strade Bianche was to be postponed. It's hoped that the event will run later this year but a new date has yet to be confirmed.
Strade Bianche is not alone; a raft of major Italian races have been called off amid coronavirus concerns in the region. Tirreno-Adriatico, Milan-San Remo, Giro di Sicilia, Trofeo Binda and the Settimana Coppi e Bartali have all been postponed.
Outside of Italy, another landmark of the cycling season, Paris-Nice, has seen a succession of high-profile withdrawals from the likes of Team Ineos and and Jumbo-Visma. The Sea Otter Classic trade show in Spain has also been postponed.
Closer to home in the UK, the sportive calendar remains unaffected so far.
However, Bespoked, the handmade bicycle show in Bristol, which was due to take place over the early May bank holiday weekend, has now been postponed until 16-18 October. All pre-sold tickets will be valid for the new dates, or can be refunded by contacting the ticket agents at ticketline.co.uk.
London Bike Show, set to take place at the end of March in London's ExCel, is unaffected at time of writing. The show's PR firm say it will go ahead as planned unless the government's guidance on large gatherings changes.
Update 12.03.2020: London Bike Show has now been postponed until 3-5 July 2020.
However, visitors are advised: "If you are due to attend an event at ExCeL and think you may be affected, please stay indoors, either at home or within your hotel room, avoiding contact with other people and please contact NHS 111 or 999.
"Anyone who has travelled from mainland China, Thailand, Japan, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Iran, Macau, Malaysia, Myanmar, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Vietnam or Northern Italy in the last 14 days and is experiencing cough, fever or shortness of breath, should not travel to ExCeL, even if symptoms are mild."
Further information relating to coronavirus can be found at the ExCel visitor information page: thelondonbikeshow.co.uk.
Coronavirus: What's the outlook for the big UK and European sportives?
Larger sportives like the Tour of Flanders, Granfondo Stelvio Santini and Mallorca 312 attract an international field of many thousands of cyclists. That's a lot of potentially infected fingers dipping in the feed station troughs...
With concerns over coronavirus showing no signs of abating any time soon, there are question marks over whether some events will go ahead as planned.
Organisers of the Tour of Flanders and Gent-Wevelgem sportives, Peloton, offer the following advice regarding coronavirus:
"We, as (an) organisation, are in continuous consultation with the Department of Public Health and are following their advice regarding the Coronavirus. At this moment, there is no reason for drastic changes in the planning and continued preparations of our events. If the situation were to change after all before the day of the event, the organisation will inform all participants of any measures.
"In any case, we are taking some evident, but additional health measures at our events: at the start, finish, provision stations, toilets... This applies to our employees, but we also ask all participants to observe a number of rules of thumb: washing your hands frequently with soap and water or bringing hand gel with you, covering your cough or sneeze with a paper tissue, throwing the used paper tissues immediately in a rubbish bin."
Update 12.03.2020: The Tour of Flanders and Gent-Wevelgem sportives have now been postponed. New dates TBC.
Similar to Peloton, sportive organisers both in the UK and Europe will be taking advice from their local and national authorities regarding whether to proceed with planned events.
If you're booked on a sportive, the advice would be to keep an eye on news for the region you're travelling to, and wait for updates from event organisers. In the meantime, it would seem wise to make sure any travel and accommodation bookings are covered by your insurance policy in the event of cancellation.
The situation is changing rapidly, and the cancellation of Strade Bianche at just 48 hours notice underlines the importance of monitoring event websites for up-to-date information right up until the moment of travel.
If your sportive does go ahead, following some basic hygiene precautions is probably a good idea:
- Wash your hands before and after the ride
- Avoid spitting and blowing your nose when riding in a bunch
- At feed stations, consider sticking to bananas and wrapped bars or gels, rather than grabbing a handful of sweets/flapjacks from a tray.
We'll aim to keep this post updated with any further coronavirus news affecting sportives.