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Antwerp World Cup Cyclo-cross round cancelled

Belgian Eli Iserbyt celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the mens elite race of the 7th stage out of 16 of the world cup cyclocross in Koksijde Sunday 21 November 2021 BELGA PHOTO DAVID STOCKMAN Photo by DAVID STOCKMANBELGA MAGAFP via Getty Images
Crowds cheering on home nation winner Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) at Koksijde earlier this month as he looks back to see how far his competition is behind (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

The UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup Antwerp, which was scheduled as the next round of the series on December 5, has reportedly been cancelled with organisers pulling the pin as a result of the impact of extra crowd measures that have been put in place amid a worsening COVID-19 situation in Belgium.

The last World Cup race in Belgium, Koksijde on November 21, went ahead but since then new rules have been introduced and while spectators would still be allowed stricter distancing and seating rules are being applied from November 29 through to December 15, when the Consultative Committee meets again to reassess the situation.

Organisers said that International cross 'lives by virtue of the massive turnout of the public and of the atmosphere and ambiance' but risks becoming bland with the current measures. 

“Cyclocross in Antwerp lives from the public and it is traditionally a meeting place for all Antwerpers who love cyclocross and atmosphere,” Christophe Impens of organiser Golazo said in a report on Dutch website Wielerflits. “But to optimally guarantee the safety and health of everyone, we would have to impose a lot of extra measures that are also hardly controllable.”

“That applies to the public along the course, but all the more so in the so-called atmospheric tents, as well as in the VIP tent. It is not an obvious decision, but the City of Antwerp understands it in view of the difficult corona situation and the changed measures."

Antwerp was set to be the ninth round of the World Cup series, which is currently led by Lucinda Brand (Baloise Trek Lions) in the elite women’s category and Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) in the elite men. Both won the most recent round in Besançon on Sunday.

The next World Cup on the calendar after Antwerp is Val di Sole in Italy on December 12, then Rucphen in the Netherlands on December 18, before the racing is scheduled to return to Belgium again in Namur on December 19. The Namur round is just days after the next reassessment of the COVID-19 situation is scheduled.

“We are waiting for the next federal consultation committee on 15 December,” said Impens in the Wielerflits report. “Depending on the decisions made there, we will look at our next cyclocross races one by one, of course always in close consultation with the local government.”

Last season the Cyclo-cross World Cup was hit hard by cancellations, limiting the top tier series to five events. Antwerp is the first cancellation this season, with eight rounds having already gone ahead and another seven on the calendar.

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