The Colombian Cycling Federation have cancelled the 2021 Tour Colombia race due to be held between February 9-14 due to risks of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The loss of the Tour Colombia means the men’s professional season will be far more European centric than usual. The Vuelta a San Juan in Argentina and the UAE Tour are still set to go ahead in January and early February but the Tour Down Under and the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race and the Herald Sun Tour in Australia have already been cancelled, as have the La Tropicale Amissa Bongo in central Africa and the Tour de Langkawi in Malaysia.
With the loss of several early-season stage races, the major teams are expected to focus on the traditional European events such as the Challenge Mallorca races, the Etoile des Besseges in the South of France and the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana in Spain. All the early 2021 races are expected to be raced under the strict UCI COVID-19 protocol but depend on the risk of a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mauricio Vargas, the president of the Federación Colombiana de Ciclismo, explained the reason for the cancellation of the Tour Colombia in a letter to the UCI and to Mundo Ciclístico Magazine website.
"It has been a very difficult decision for the Executive Committee to make,” Vargas said.
“We have consulted the government, health authorities, sports, teams, coaches, managers and even cyclists, looking for a way that would allow us to carry out this great event. But the most logical and consistent conclusion with reality is the cancellation of our race next year and hopefully we can restart it in 2022 with all the necessary enthusiasm and determination”
“The main reason for cancellation revolved around the preservation of the health not only of the caravan but of the entire environment. This is an event that brings together millions of people as demonstrated in previous editions and it is impossible to control crowds, which is at odds with the commitment to avoid crowds.”
The success of Colombian riders in recent years has made the Tour Colombia a prestigious event, with the likes of Egan Bernal, Rigoberto Uran, Sergio Higuita and even Julian Alaphilippe and Richard Carapaz also riding the race.
Bernal won the inaugural edition of this race in 2018 when it was named Colombia Oro Y Paz, and he was fourth in 2019 while in service of his Team Ineos teammate Iván Sosa. Higuita won overall in 2020 as EF Pro Cycling dominated the opening team time trial.
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