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Amstel Gold races cancelled due to Dutch coronavirus restrictions

TOPSHOT The peleton rides past a windmill during the Amstel Gold Cycling Race in Maastricht Netherlands on April 21 2019 Photo by Marcel van Hoorn ANP AFP Netherlands OUT Photo credit should read MARCEL VAN HOORNAFP via Getty Images
The Amstel Gold Race peloton (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Organisers of the Amstel Gold Race and Amstel Gold Race Ladies Edition announced on Wednesday that the races will not be held on October 10 due to recently introduced COVID-19 coronavirus restrictions in the Netherlands. 

The three municipalities involved (Eijsden-Margraten, Maastricht and Valkenburg) and the region of South Limburg have concluded that organising the events is not feasible within the framework of the newly announced national restrictions that prohibit public attendance at sporting events. 

"The past few months have been very intensive. The COVID-19 pandemic makes the organization of the Amstel Gold Race very complex," race director Leo van Vliet said. 

"We worked for a long time on a corona-proof Amstel Gold Race where we were able to keep the course intact. 

"In the last few weeks it became increasingly clear that a course through South Limburg, with visits to ten municipalities, was unfeasible. For this reason, we carefully worked on a new plan with a smaller circuit of 16.9 kilometers. The course and the area around it would be closed to the public in order to avoid crowds and to guarantee a distance of 1.5 meters. 

"On Monday we were fully prepared to make this public, but the new measures announced by the cabinet later that evening meant that the plans had to be revised again. 

"With the condition 'no public' it became an almost impossible task. From Tuesday morning, we consulted with representatives of the Security Region and the municipalities. In their final assessment, the mayors established the impossibility of guaranteeing no public. Of course, no matter how much we hate it, we can't help but respect this assessment. Of course, it does not prevent us from returning next year with a fantastic race."

Following the organiser's statement regarding the cancellation of the Amstel Gold Race men's and women's events, the UCI also confirmed that the cancellation was made following measures taken by Dutch authorities.

"In the current health context linked to Covid-19 and following the measures taken by the Dutch authorities, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) regrets to announce that the 2020 Amstel Gold Race and the 2020 Amstel Gold Race Ladies have been cancelled at the request of their organiser," the statement read. "The two events, featuring respectively on the UCI WorldTour and UCI Women’s WorldTour calendars, were scheduled to take place on 10 October."

The cancellation follows the annulment of Wednesday's stage of the BinckBank Tour, which was due to take place in Vlissingen. Organisers of that race have moved Thursday's stage start to Aalter in Belgium and changed Friday's stage into a 8km time trail around the Belgian town of Riemst.