The two-day Vuelta a Murcia has become the latest February race to be delayed until May as the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continue deal out blow after blow to cycling’s early-season calendar in 2021.
The category 2.1 race was due to go ahead on February 12-13, but the organisers stated on Tuesday that it has been compelled to postpone the race until May 21-22 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“The ongoing health situation owing to the COVID-19 obliges us to postpone the organization of the Vuelta Ciclista a la Región de Murcia - Gran Premio Banco Sabadell. We have proposed May 21-22 as alternative dates,” the Vuelta a Murcia organisation stated on Twitter.
“This has been a very difficult decision to take, because everything was ready to go and we had a line-up that would have been one of the best in the history of the Vuelta a Murcia.
“But we’ve taken this decision when faced by the COVID-19 crisis, in agreement with all the sponsors, who have shown their support throughout.
“It’s time to show support for those affected by this illness and the medical professionals who face the pandemic every day. See you all soon.”
The Vuelta a Murcia has been in existence since 1981, with past winners including Pedro Delgado, Miguel Indurain, Marco Pantani and Nairo Quintana. Last year’s edition was won by Xandro Meurisse (Circus-Wanty Gobert).
The postponement of the Vuelta a Murcia already looked like a near certainty last week, when race director Francisco Guzman told website Ciclo21 that they were trying to push it back to the late spring, and the definitive confirmation arrived on Tuesday morning.
Other early-season races in Spain that have also been postponed include Challenge Mallorca and the Vuelta a Andalucía, while in neighbouring Portugal, the Volta ao Algarve has also been postponed.
The current list of UCI-categorized events taking place in the next three weeks is now reduced to just eight, starting with the GP Cycliste la Marseillaise in France on Sunday. Three of the forthcoming races are due to take place in Spain: the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana (February 3-7), and the one-day Vuelta CV Feminas (February 7) and the Clásica de Almeria (February 14).
COMUNICADO OFICIALLa situación sanitaria debida a la pandemia de Covid 19 nos obliga a posponer la organización de la Vuelta Ciclista a la Región de Murcia - Gran Premio Banco Sabadell, prevista para los días 12 y 13 de Febrero de 2021.⬇️ pic.twitter.com/owoofVjwVmJanuary 26, 2021
Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. Apart from working for Cyclingnews.com, he is also the cycling correspondent for The Independent and The Independent on Sunday.
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