Tour das Mulheres adiado devido à incerteza em torno da pandemia

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O organizador da corrida do Women’s Tour anunciou que a edição de 2021 será adiada de suas datas originais de junho. O evento de seis dias estava programado para começar em Oxfordshire em 7 de junho, mas o organizador Sweetspot decidiu adiar o evento para reduzir as complexidades de realizar um evento seguro Covid.

O Sweetspot, em conjunto com a British Cycling, solicitou uma nova data à UCI e espera que ela aconteça entre 4 e 9 de outubro, um mês após outro de seus eventos, o Tour of Britain. Recentemente, eles foram forçados a adiar sua Série Tour de critérios.

“Estamos obviamente desapontados por adiar o Tour Feminino para junho, mas esperamos que, com o objetivo de realizar a corrida em outubro, possamos dar às equipes e ao público algo pelo que esperar no final do verão”, disse o biretor Mick Bennett em um comunicado de imprensa.

Desde o seu início em 2014, o Tour Feminino se tornou uma das corridas femininas líderes no calendário e é altamente considerado por sua organização, espetáculo e desafio esportivo. No entanto, com a pandemia em curso causando incerteza em todos os aspectos da vida, muito menos nos esportes, a decisão de reagendar talvez fosse inevitável.

“Existem vários motivos [for the postponement,” Sweetspot’s chairman Hugh Roberts told Cycling Weekly. “The most important is our relationships with stake holders, those being the various venues around the country with whom we work so closely.

“They are being drawn in all sorts of different directions trying to cope with the situation and are nervous about being seen to be putting an event on that, as it stands right now, goes against the guidance which is the received wisdom.

“Even then we need to spend at least four months preparing for the event to make sure they get the crowds they need to justify being involved in the first place. It’s far better to make the decision now and move to when we could reliably put the event on in October, then continue to have that sword of Damocles hanging over us.”

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Though no one can know where the fight against Covid-19 will be in October, Roberts is confident the race can go ahead in it’s rescheduled slot: “If I was a betting man I would say that it is 75/25 in favour of it happening.

“Let’s hope the government and the sports authorities treat the races as a celebration of the fact we are back to normal,” adding he would be interested in ideas of how the races can celebrate health and key workers who have worked so hard.

The 2021 women’s calendar has already been hit by cancellations, with the usual Australian races going the same way as their men’s equivalents, and there has been no European racing yet after two Spanish races were cancelled.

However, the traditional Classics opener at Omloop Het Nieuwsbald is set to go ahead on February 27, though Omloop Het van Hageland, normally run the following day will not take place. 

Dutch one-dayer Ronde van Drenthe would normally happen in March but has requested an alternative date in late October. New Spanish Women’s WorldTour stage race Itzulia is also seeking another date after postponing last month, and with few available dates in summer all three could come together to make an intense end to the year.

“It makes October a little more interesting,” Canyon-SRAM team manager Ronnny Lauke told CW. “At the moment you have two race days at the beginning of October and then Chrono des Nations in the middle and Drenthe at the very end so having a stage race in October is actually a good thing.”

The uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has caused teams to reassess how they operate, with travel causing a particular headache for Lauke.

“In a normal season I sometimes book with low cost carriers in January for [races in] Julho, agosto e setembro porque as passagens aéreas são muito baixas nessa época. Isso não é possível, agora eu reservo no máximo uma semana de antecedência, provavelmente mais tarde porque você tem segurança de planejamento zero.

“O Tour Feminino é um dos destaques do calendário feminino, então é uma pena, mas enquanto houver uma chance de acontecer em 2021, este é um grande sinal.”

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