The GP Stad Zottegem, one of the first Belgian races on the UCI's revised 2020 road calendar, has been cancelled after organisers decided that uncertainties surrounding the coronavirus pandemic made it impossible to hold the race.
Originally scheduled for August 18, the race, rebranded as the 1.1-ranked Egmont Cycling Classic, will be organised next on August 17, 2021.
Organizer Jo Gosseye of the Zottegemse Wielerclub told Sporza.be that in February they hoped the virus would be eradicated by August. Now that they've started delving deeper into the race details such as sponsorship and selling VIP packages, it has become more complicated.
"We explored all possibilities, but in the end the uncertainty was too great, given the high dependence on sponsorship," Gosseye said. "We cannot give our sponsors clarity about their return and we also understand completely that sponsorship is not immediately priority number one for the many entrepreneurs affected these days."
Zottegem mayor Jenne De Potter highlighted the difficulties of maintaining social distancing for the race.
"Safety and public health must come first," De Potter said. "If we assume that social distancing will remain the norm this summer, it will be very difficult to implement and maintain it in practice in a finishing zone or at busy attractions along the route.
"Moreover, it is still not clear how many spectators will be allowed to attend sporting or other events in August. With a lot of pain in the heart, but Zottegem will have to miss its annual appointment with the pro peloton this once."
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