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Vuelta a Murcia could move to May amid worsening pandemic

Cycling: Murcia Tour / Vuelta Murcia / Etapa 1 / Stage 1 /
MEURISSE, Xandro (BEL) /
Los Alcázares - Caravaca De la Cruz (177,6 Km) 14-02-2020/
Cycling: Murcia Tour / Vuelta Murcia / Etapa 1 / Stage 1 /
Luis Angel Gomez
Xandro Meurisse won the overall at the 2020 Vuelta a Murcia (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

The 2021 Vuelta Ciclista a Murcia may be the latest race to adjust its dates because of the continued coronavirus conditions, looking to move its February 12-13 dates to May, according to a number of Spanish news outlets. Television station La 7 Deportes went as far as reporting on social media that the event had been postponed until the end of May, due to the “health situation in the region.”

“The competition will be held on the scheduled dates for the time being, but it is true that the health situation is very serious. We do not rule out that we will request a postponement from the UCI,” race organizer Francisco Guzmán said to Ciclo 21.

Guzmán has said the Vuelta a Murcia would not be cancelled, but would request a date change for the UCI 2.1 event and confirm in the coming days. He noted that 16 of 19 WorldTour teams had requested entry to race, though updates have not been posted to the event website.

“We have to be very responsible with the final decision we have to make,” said Guzmán. “I will have meetings with the authorities and sponsors and in the middle of the week we will make a final decision based on what all the actors involved transmit to us.”

The region of Murcia is located in south-east Spain on the Mediterranean coast, and local health officials have called for lockdowns for residents because of an increase in coronavirus cases. It sits across the Balearic Sea from Mallorca, where the Challenge Mallorca race series has been postponed until May.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to force event organisers on all sides of the planet to reschedule early-season schedules for 2021. The Tour Down Under, Great Ocean Race and Herald Sun Tour in Australia have all been cancelled. Spain has a number of early-season UCI events, front-loaded on the calendar to take advantage of its milder winter weather.

The February dates for the Vuelta a Murcia have it positioned following the 2.Pro Volta a la comunitat Valenciana, February 3-7, which will offer live streaming of a presentation ceremony on Thursday.

Going back to its first edition for professionals in 1985, the Vuelta a Murcia was a five-day spring stage race. It was reduced to one day from 2013 to 2018, then remodeled as a two-day race in 2019, won that year by Luis León Sánchez (Astana), and then won last year by Xandro Meurisse, riding for Circus-Wanty Gobert.

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