The COVID-19 pandemic played havoc with the road-racing schedule last year, leading to the cancellation of many competitions and the drastic rescheduling of the three Grand Tours. Despite this, however, the 2020 Grand Tours were among the most suspenseful and exciting in recent memory – in large part because training and schedules were disrupted and organizers, teams and riders were caught out by the disruptions.
Despite the pandemic being far from over, the 2021 cycling calendar should see a return to something close to normalcy. For one thing, the Grand Tour races are, for now, back in their normal calendar slots, with the Giro d’Italia set to be run from May 8 to May 30, the Tour de France following on June 26 to July 18 and the Vuelta a España held from August 14 to September 5.
The dates for the Tour and the Vuelta do not exactly conform to their usual dates, for reasons other than COVID-19. The Tour had originally been envisaged for July 2-25 but the dates were changed to avoid conflicting with the Olympic road racing competitions, to be held (if the Olympics will in fact be held) on July 24, 25 and 28.
🤩 Here is the official #TDF2021 route!
— Tour de France™ (@LeTour) November 1, 2020
The Vuelta is being held a week earlier than usual to allow for a better transition to the European Championships, scheduled for September 11-12, and the UCI Road World Championships on September 19-26.
But there is no denying that this year’s racing schedule has been affected by the coronavirus, with a total of 34 events cancelled so far from the men’s and women’s 2021 UCI International Road Calendar, the UCI said February 19 in a press release.
However, organizers of 24 of these ‘cancelled’ races have requested that they be rescheduled at later dates in the 2021 season. The UCI will review these requests in collaboration with the organizers and “will set the new dates with a view to the overall coherence of the calendar and in the general interest of cycling,” the organization said. The new dates will be made public by the end of March, at the latest.
The races that will definitely not be held this year include the Tour Down Under, the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, the Saudi Tour, the Herald Sun Tour, the Tour of Oman, Tour Colombia, the Tour of Antalya, the Tour de Yorkshire and the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic.
The operative words in this information are so far. Given the uncertainties surrounding the epidemic, other races may yet be cut and perhaps not all postponed races will be held.
To help you keep track, the UCI has provided a 2021 cycling calendar for the season that it will update every two weeks.
Keep yourselves informed and cross your fingers.