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WorldTour races in Québec and Montréal to go ahead as planned

Michael Matthews, Greg Van Avermaet, Peter Sagan on the GP Québec podium in 2019 (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Grands Prix Cyclistes de Québec and Montréal will go ahead as planned on September 11 and 13 while event organisers remain attentive to local health restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic. The one-day races will coincide with the Tour de France and Tirreno-Adriatico on the revised late-season calendar, however, organisers are confident they will attract a competitive field of one-day racers. 

"Because of the nature of our races, however, we should still see a high-quality field of competitors in Québec City and Montréal," said Serge Arsenault, President of the GPCQM, in a press statement. 

"The new calendar has been carefully thought out in that sense for each event. The Québec City and Montréal circuits are tailor-made for one-day classics specialists, so riders of that profile may well choose our races to show their talents and shine."

The UCI announced the new post-COVID-19 dates of the men's and women's WorldTour calendars on May 5. The calendar placed a priority on the Tour de France and the Monuments from August through November. 

The two one-day races in Quebec and Montreal will keep their initial dates in September, however, they now overlap with the Tour de France held from August 29-September 20 and Tirreno-Adriatico held from September 7-14.

The events are the only remaining WorldTour races in North America after Tour of California went on hiatus for 2020. They are also the only international races remaining in Canada after government restrictions led to the cancellation of all events through September 1.

The UCI has suspended all racing until July 1, and men's and women's WorldTour racing until August 1. The sport governing body also confirmed that organisers of some 800 events across all disciplines and categories have requested the postponement or cancellation of their events.  

In addition, six teams have started to negotiate reductions to riders and staff salaries in response to the COVID-19 crisis including EF Pro Cycling, CCC Team, Astana, Lotto Soudal, Bahrain McLaren and Mitchelton-Scott.

In an interview with Cyclingnews in April, Arsenault said he was prepared to "bite the bullet" and cancel his events, if necessary, because the Tour de France was the only event that could prevent a further economic collapse in cycling.

Arsenault, at that time, set a May 15 deadline on which to decide whether to cancel or continue with his two WorldTour races this September. He also expressed initial concerns that government restrictions in Canada and in the province of Quebec could be pushed back further into September, which would prevent his races from happening.

"It bears repeating, however, that the health and safety of spectators and riders, and proper supervision by the organizers are our priority," read the organisers' press statement.

"The GPCQM organizers are taking very seriously the situation and the risks related to COVID-19. We will continue to monitor the situation worldwide and update you on developments as they happen."

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Kirsten Frattini is an honours graduate of Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Canada. She has been involved in bike racing from the grassroots level to professional cycling's WorldTour. She has worked in both print and digital publishing, and started with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. Moving into a Production Editor's role in 2014, she produces and publishes international race coverage for all cycling disciplines, edits news and writes features. Currently the Women's Editor at Cyclingnews, Kirsten coordinates global coverage of races, news, features and podcasts about women's professional cycling.