The Healthy Ageing Tour has confirmed its elite women’s event will go ahead in March, with an abbreviated three-day format, no spectators and closed courses. In addition, because of the restrictions made to not allow fans, a crowdfunding campaign has been launched on social media to fund a livestream.
Organisers of the 2.1-ranked Dutch race said while the elite women’s event was going to run in “strict bubble” conditions, they felt compelled to cancel the planned Healthy Ageing Tour for junior women and Olympia’s Tour. Organisers said an exception had been made for the elite women’s event as the field includes only UCI World Tour Teams, UCI Continental Teams and two national selections of professional athletes, plus the top level competition is crucial to athletes in an Olympic year.
"Many of the Healthy Ageing Tour participants will be participating in the Tokyo Olympics later in the year. The Dutch stage race is an important preparatory race for them, also because few time trials will be organised for this category this spring," said the race organisers in a media statement.
The reduced three-day tour – which normally runs over five days and was originally on the UCI calendar for four days this year – is scheduled for March 10 to 12. The closed-course race starts in Assen on a TT circuit and the second day will be an individual time trial on the Marnewaard barracks. The final stage will take place on a track on and around the VAM-Berg in Wijster, an area that features in Ronde van Drenthe and was used for the Dutch Championships last year.
The event has started a GoFundMe campaign to fund webcasting of the race, which would provide a way for fans to see and hear the action from home for all three days.
"We need at least 9500 euro’s, but anything above this amount helps to secure the future of the Healthy Ageing Tour," was the goal listed on a GoFundMe page created by Daan Bultje, race directeur for the stage race.
The race was not held in 2020, and was rescheduled from its traditional April slot on the UCI calendar to March this year, when it was planned to be held in conjunction with the Olympia’s Tour (2.2) for elite and under-23 men. The 2020 cancellation was just one of many due to COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, and as those cancellations have also continued into 2021 the Healthy Ageing Tour will help bolster a thinning early-season calendar.
The UCI last week said that 38 men’s and women’s professional events had been cancelled or postponed this year due to COVID-19. One of the most recent among the women’s schedule was the highly-regarded Women’s Tour, which requested a postponement from June to October due to the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and long lockdown in Great Britain.
Friends, we need your help! To ensure that as many fans as possible can follow #HAT21 we are setting up a #crowdfunding campaign to gather enough funding for a livestream. Every little bit counts. #cycling https://t.co/1GhzM1VYOXFebruary 23, 2021
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