Corona threatens (again) cycling classics: Amstel Gold Race o …

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Mathieu van der Poel won the Amstel Gold Race last year.
Photo: ISOPIX

Is corona again throwing a spanner in the works for cycling? After virtually no race was followed in the spring due to the pandemic, there are now fears that in the new calendar a number of races will also fall victim to the rising contamination figures. The Amstel Gold Race (11 October) is on the slope and the corona figures in the north of France are also causing headaches for ASO, the organizer of Paris-Roubaix (25 October).

Since Monday, the corona measures in the Netherlands have been tightened. The public is no longer allowed for sports competitions and it is currently uncertain whether the Amstel Gold Race can still take place. This would normally be organized on the weekend of October 11. “I don’t know if the Amstel can continue,” says organizer Leo van Vliet. “I don’t know which way things are going at the moment. How are you going to keep the audience away and respect the rule of one and a half meters without masks? It’s not like a football game. The Tour de France has not done any good for cycling in terms of image with people who walk together. ”

In any case, it is already the intention of the organization of the Amstel Gold Race to close the start and finish zone and the slopes to the public. The start has even been moved from the city center of Maastricht to the MVV stadium to make it easier to keep the audience free. But the people of the Dutch Security Region must decide at the latest this week whether that is enough.

Rising figures in Northern France

In addition to the Amstel Gold Race, there is also concern about Paris-Roubaix. The local authorities are holding their heart because the corona figures in the department of Hauts-de-France are going in the wrong direction. Michel Lalande, prefect of the French departments of Nord and Hauts-de-France, questions the organization of the course in his region. “The Tour de France could take place with adjustments. I hope that the same sanitary measures will also be taken in the organization of Paris-Roubaix ”, Lalande says on the channels of France Blue North. “I will soon be meeting with the organizing committee to see what attitude they will take towards the evolution of the virus, which is starting to spread more and more. A Paris-Roubaix without an audience becomes a very realistic scenario.

It remains to be seen how the rising corona figures will further influence the cycling calendar. At the Vuelta – in the dark red Spain – there are already some reservations left and right in the peloton.





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