The 4 Jours de Dunkerque – or 4 Days of Dunkirk – has been cancelled for a second year in a row due to the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the organisers, Tour of Flanders winner Kasper Asgreen and his Deceuninck-QuickStep teammates Sam Bennett and Fabio Jakobsen were among the riders on the provisional start list.
However, they will have to make alternate plans for May 4-9 after local French government officials definitively blocked the race from going ahead on Tuesday.
Race organisers had already received word from the head of the Nord department, in the north eastern corner of France, that they would be unable to hold the race under the current pandemic restrictions. The same local officials recently enforced the postponement of Paris-Roubaix from April 11 to October.
The race organisers since enlisted the support of the French National Cycling League and made an appeal to central government. However, it fell on deaf ears.
"Cancelled..." was the short statement posted by the race on social media on Tuesday.
Speaking to local newspaper La Voix du Nord (opens in new tab), president of the organising committee, Bernard Martel, expanded on the news.
"We're very disappointed. We were going to inject money into the local economy and put on a great event. It seems the officials didn't want to leave their comfort zone."
The cancellation raises question marks over the race's future. The financial impact of last year's cancellation was mitigated by the early decision and support from local businesses, but Martel has been spending his €1m budget planning for the race to go ahead.
As well as the Deceuninck-QuickStep riders, the Lotto Soudal duo of Philippe Gilbert and John Degenkolb and the Bora-Hansgrohe pair of Pascal Ackermann and Nils Politt were expected to compete, along with Oliver Naesen (AG2R Citroën) and Nacer Bouhanni (Arkéa-Samsic).
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