Days after saying they were monitoring the ongoing Covid-19 coronavirus situation but had not yet canceled their race, organisers of the Redlands Bicycle Classic in Southern California decided to pull the plug on the event for this season.
In a statement sent to media late Friday evening, the Redlands Bicycle Classic Organizing Committee members said they had remained "steadfast" in their desire to host the 36th annual event, which was scheduled for April 22-26 and would have been the third event on USA Cycling's 2020 Pro Road Tour calendar.
"Unfortunately, the ever-increasing risks associated with widespread Coronavirus (COVID-19) have led us to a decision that undoubtedly will be disappointing to many, although we are confident it is appropriate under these unique circumstances," said Redlands Bicycle Classic Executive Director Marc Shaw.
"Considering the latest information, projected timelines, expert analysis, and after consultation with the leadership of our host cities of Redlands, Highland and Yucaipa, we have jointly decided that the 2020 Redlands Bicycle Classic should not occur.
"Ultimately, the health and well-being of everyone associated with the event, including the citizens of our local communities, led us to this difficult decision."
Earlier in the week, organisers of the Tour of the Gila in Silver City, New Mexico – scheduled for April 29 through May 3 – cancelled their race, and there were cancellations for several of the USA Crits events as well.
More cancellations are expected soon, which could affect the selection process for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, although the future of those Games is also in doubt.
Meanwhile, Shaw assured race fans, host communities, volunteers, teams and racers that his event would return next year.
"As COVID-19 continues to impact the lives of people everywhere, we appreciate you understanding our decision," he said.
"The lives of those affected by this outbreak are far more important than our event. Therefore, please keep them in your thoughts and prayers and we’ll see you next year in Redlands."