The body representing professional cyclists in Spain, the ACP, has urged the country’s Ministry of the Interior to exempt its members from emergency legislation banning people from cycling on the country’s roads during the coronavirus pandemic, so that they can continue to train individually.
Social media posts at the weekend showed amateur cyclists in Spain being stopped by police, with fines of up to €3,000 in force for those who ignore instructions and continue to ride.
The legislation has been introduced not only to prevent the spread of the virus, but also to ease pressure on emergency services.
The organisation’s president, José Luis de Santos, told Marca: “The ACP has approached the ministry to explain the need for our members to be able to carry out their work on Spanish roads, an activity that is allowed in Italy," he explained.
"The number of professionals in Spain is no more than 140 people and we are not going to invade the roads.
“We have already agreed among ourselves to ask permission to train and carry out work individually.”
He drew a distinction between the situation Spain and that in Italy, where professional cyclists and other elite athletes are allowed to train so long as they do so individually (and carry appropriate identification if challenged by the authorities).
De Santos highlighted the damage that not being able to train on the road could do to professional cyclists, “because losing form is a quick process and getting it back is slower,”
He added: “Cycling is an individual and solitary sport. Several riders have contacted me. We want a distinction to be made, in that we are not cyclists, we are professionals, but the authorities do not allow traffic on the road under pain of fines.”
The ACP said that expects the interior ministry to respond “as soon as possible.”
Among the cyclists who had asked the ACP to intervene on their behalf was the Astana rider, Gorka Izagirre.
He said: “Some of our team left yesterday [Sunday] to train in Benidorm and the Civil Guard sent them home.
“They have told them they need an official letter from the team and so we have gone to the ACP to see if they can give us any support so we can go out.
“We are in contact with the ACP to find out whether we can go outside because it is our profession. But we don’t have any official document that guarantees us anything.”
Besides Spanish licence holders, the country is also home to many professional cyclists from elsewhere, with a particularly large cluster of Anglophone riders in and around Girona.
The principality of Andorra in the Pyrenees is also a popular base for professional cyclists, with Dan Martin among those who reside there, and who would normally include Spanish roads on their training rides.
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.