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2020 World Championships will not take place without 'significant easing' of COVID-19 restrictions

2020 UCI Road World Championships organisers Alexandre Debons and Grégory Devaud with UCI president David Lappartient – and event mascot Barry the St. Bernard – at the unveiling of the championships' routes
(Image credit: UCI)

The 2020 World Championships in Aigle and Martigny will not take place unless there is a significant easing of the current COVID-19 restrictions in place in Switzerland. In a statement on Friday, the organising committee said that the cancellation of the event “cannot be ruled out.”

The Worlds are due to take place from September 20-27 but public gatherings of over 1,000 people are forbidden in Switzerland until at least August 31. The Swiss Federal Council is due to announce any changes to those restrictions on August 12.

“At this point in time and based on the epidemiological situation, it cannot be ruled out that the event may possibly not be allowed to go ahead,” the Aigle-Martigny 2020 organisation said. “A final decision can only be made following the next announcement of federal measures by the Federal Council on 12 August 2020 and based on the epidemiological situation in Switzerland and internationally.”

The 2020 Worlds have been in doubt since the cycling calendar was interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic in March, and Marca reported in May that the UCI was examining the prospect of moving the event to a later date at an alternative venue in Oman, Qatar or the United Arab Emirates.

In June, the Aigle-Martigny 2020 organising committee reiterated that it was still planning to host the Worlds in September and UCI president David Lappartient last month confirmed that there was “no plan B” if the event could not go ahead on the scheduled dates in Switzerland.

On Friday, the organising committee acknowledged that the 2020 Worlds “cannot be held without a significant easing of the measures for events of more than 1000 people.” 

While it declared itself open to hosting a World Championships “with a limited number of spectators and major protective measures,” it highlighted that a measure easing of the current restrictions was needed for the Worlds to take place.

“Without any major easing decided by the federal authorities and taking into account that the list of high-risk countries requiring quarantine to enter Switzerland is increasing, the conditions for holding the 2020 UCI Road World Championships, in Aigle-Martigny, would not be met,” the statement concluded.

The 2020 Worlds are due to begin with the men's individual time trial on September 20, the same day as the final stage of the rescheduled Tour de France.