Coronavirus: Cycling Australia to 'monitor situation' regarding World Championships

Australia’s Michael Matthews at the 2019 World Championships road race in Yorkshire, where he was his nation’s sole finisher, in 24th place
Australia’s Michael Matthews at the 2019 World Championships road race in Yorkshire, where he was his nation’s sole finisher, in 24th place (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Cycling Australia has announced that it's monitoring the continuing coronavirus pandemic situation with regard to September's UCI Road World Championships, which are scheduled to be held in Switzerland from September 20-27. Australia's national federation said that it will still consider sending elite athletes already based in Europe for at least two weeks before the start of the event if the global situation at the time allows it.

In a press release regarding the federation's wider international activities on Wednesday, Cycling Australia (CA) CEO and managing director Steve Drake said: "The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) currently advises there is a ban on overseas travel from Australia. Australian citizens cannot leave Australia without an exemption from DFAT.

"Our primary concern is the health of our athletes and staff. As such, CA will not be conducting any national team campaigns or projects outside of Australia before 1 January 2021," he said.

Drake added that while it had already been decided not to send any under-23 or junior riders to overseas competitions, there could be possible exceptions when it comes to senior elite athletes for the 2020 UCI Road World Championships, the 2020 UCI MTB World Championships, the 2020 MTB Marathon World Championships, the 2020 season Mountain Bike World Cups and the remaining 2020 season BMX World Cups, as well as for competitions in New Zealand "in the event there is a government-endorsed Trans-Tasman travel bubble".

"In respect of the 2020 UCI Road World Championships, CA will continue to monitor the situation," Drake's statement read. "CA will only consider selecting and endorsing entries for Elite riders. Riders in these categories wishing to be considered will need to have been based in Europe for a minimum of two (2) weeks prior to the date of the start of the competition in question."

The statement added that Cycling Australia would continue to monitor the global situation with regards to COVID-19, and that it could yet "modify its approach to its activities as the situation develops over the next few months".

"CA will consider a range of factors including, but not limited to, the most up-to-date DFAT position, the current COVID-19 position of the host country, information from the UCI and event organisers, and the ability of CA to appropriately provide for the health and safety of the team and the community," stated Drake.

Meanwhile, a decision is expected on Wednesday as to whether the 2020 Road Worlds will still be able to take place in Switzerland at all, following a meeting of the Swiss Federal Council.

Previously, it had been suggested that a Middle East venue might be considered as an alternative to Switzerland, but as the coronavirus situation improved in June, Swiss towns Aigle and Martigny were retained as the location for the Worlds on their original dates. However, the worsening global situation may yet force a change of venue, postponement or cancellation.

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