British Cycling has announced the next phase of how it plans to reintroduce all sanctioned cycling activities in England, including coaching and group activity beginning to return from today.
It has also revealed that the next stage of its six-step programme to resume all activities, entitled British Cycling: The Way Forward, will see the resumption of some competitive events, such as time trials and downhill mountain biking.
The suspension of sanctioned club and coaching activity had been envisaged for 4 July but following new guidance on safe delivery published today are now allowed to return with immediate effect.
Outlining its plans, the governing body said:
Club activities and coaching sessions can resume today, providing they are delivered in line with Government guidance on group sizes and social distancing.
The suspension of recreation programmes – such as HSBC UK Breeze and Guided Rides – will remain in place until 4 July, to enable Breeze Champions and Ride Leaders to access new training materials on safely leading group rides at the end of this month.
While it is still not yet possible to reintroduce racing, the organisation, with its seven Discipline Commissions, is currently working on plans to reintroduce certain racing formats at the next stage of the process.
Today’s announcement moves us to Stage 3 of a six-stage plan, with Stage 6 being a return of all sanctioned activity.
British Cycling’s Cycling Delivery Director, Dani Every, said: “Today’s announcement is an important next step in our plan to safely reintroduce activities, and I want to thank all of the riders, clubs, coaches and other stakeholders for their patience as we have developed our planning over recent weeks.
“We know that many will have concerns about how and when to resume activities, and through today’s update we want to empower people and equip them with the necessary tools to deliver their activities with confidence. We will continue to develop this as the wider landscape evolves, and I’d encourage anybody with questions to get in contact with our team for further support.
“The nationwide enthusiasm for cycling we have seen develop over recent months should give us cause for optimism and excitement, and we are keen to ensure that our incredibly popular recreation programmes are able to provide invaluable support to riders as they continue their personal journeys.”
British Cycling continues to review, every two weeks, the current suspension until 1 August of regional racing and non-competitive events such as sportives, and 1 September international and national level races. These suspensions are being reviewed on a fortnightly basis.
It says that it will give four weeks’ notice of changes to the former date, and six weeks in the event of changes to the latter, and it has also updated its guidance to support operators of cycling facilities.
Every added: “I am pleased to say that our plans to reintroduce certain racing disciplines are now being developed with the support of our Discipline Commissions, to establish how we can safely deliver events while complying with Government guidance.
“I know that this is something our riders, teams and officials are keen to hear more about and we will be announcing further details on this next month.”
As far as elite athletes are concerned, British Cycling said:
The Great Britain Cycling Team will be resuming group activity but following different protocols to clubs as they follow the Government’s Return to Elite Training Stage 2 guidance, which allows training to resume in ‘clusters’ or small groups. They have permission within this guidance to train closer to each other than the general social distancing rules permit.
As part of this process, a return to group road riding will begin for the Great Britain Cycling Team squads from this week.
Riders will be completing any group training within their cluster to ensure that should a COVID-19 case be discovered the minimum number of riders and staff will be required to isolate for a 14 day period, and the track and trace process to identify contacts within training sessions and group rides can be completed.
British Cycling added that it “remains in close contact with colleagues at Scottish Cycling and Welsh Cycling regarding the current differences in guidance on sport, social distancing and gatherings across England, Scotland and Wales – and how this will impact upon the return to activities.”
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.