British Cycling has this afternoon announced its plans to resume sanctioned activities, outlining a rolling suspension in the months ahead that will see different activities return at different times – with sportives, for example, due to resume from 1 August under the measures announced today.
The national governing body announced on 17 March – a week before Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced lockdown plans – that it was suspending all sanctioned activities including racing and sportives with immediate effect until 30 April, subsequently extended to 30 June.
The organisation is proposing separate dates for the resumption of activities in three broad areas which, together with the revised dates when they are currently scheduled to return, are as follows:
International and national level races – 1 September
Regional racing and non-competitive events – 1 August
Club and group activity – 4 July
In a statement issued today, British Cycling said: “While many of you have been enjoying the opportunity to ride recreationally, we appreciate that the cycling community is looking for direction and certainty on when club, group and competitive activity can resume.
“In the absence of specific dates from the UK and devolved Governments, which are naturally hard to set, British Cycling is seeking to balance the desire to return to sanctioned cycling activity, where safe to do so, and concern for the health of people in our sport and in wider society.
“Because cycling encompasses a wide variety of activity, we are therefore proposing to move to a rolling suspension. This will apply to each of England, Scotland and Wales.
“The following position has been agreed with Scottish Cycling and Welsh Cycling, but we recognise that devolved government guidance may dictate that adjustments are required, including the dates we are working towards.”
1. International and national level races, including national series and championships
Here we are extending the suspension until 1 September 2020. We will review this on a fortnightly basis and we will give six weeks’ public notice of any extension or curtailment of the suspension. This means that the original dates for a number of national series and championship events across multiple disciplines are no longer feasible but we will endeavour to rearrange these events later in the calendar year if possible.
It is possible that the racing format in some of the disciplines, for example outdoor individual events, may return sooner than others if appropriate measures can be put in place to manage the risk in line with Government guidance and any guidance that we put in place. In all cases we will carefully consider the options available including reasonable measures that can be introduced to manage the safety of the events to manage the safety of participants, volunteers and the general public.
2. Regional racing and non-competitive events e.g. sportives
Currently we believe that regional races are more likely to return sooner due to shorter travel distances, fewer event personnel involved and the expectation that they will attract lower spectator numbers. However, due to the current government guidelines on social distancing we feel that now is the right time to extend the suspension to the 1 August 2020. We will review this on a fortnightly basis and we will give four weeks’ notice of any extension or curtailment of the suspension.
As with international and national racing, we will adopt a risk management approach which means that some disciplines or events can return ahead others if the format allows the safety of all to be managed appropriately.
We have also taken the decision to extend the suspension to the 1 August 2020 for Sportives and other non-competitive events. As with regional racing, we will review this on a fortnightly basis and we will give four weeks’ notice of any extension or curtailment of the extension.
3. Club and group activity
The third category of activity is other club and group activity, such as coaching, instructing and leading, club rides, HSBC UK Breeze rides and similar. It is likely that these activities can be reintroduced at shorter notice, with a greater degree of flexibility, with appropriate guidance and measures to manage risk ensuring compliance with Government guidelines and emerging industry best practice. As such we will be extending the current suspension until 4 July 2020 to be consistent with the stages announced by Government. We will review this on a fortnightly basis and we will give two weeks’ notice of any changes.
As far as the Great Britain Cycling Team is concerned, the governing body said it is working alongside UK Sport and the HSBC UK National Cycling Centre to manage the squad members’ return to training in line with government guidance published on 13 May.
Commenting on the next steps, British Cycling said: “We appreciate that these are challenging times for many and while there will be differing views from our membership we want to reassure everyone that our overriding principle is to work within government guidelines and to respect people's safety.
“We are also mindful that the public health guidelines are likely to differ in each home country and we are working hard behind the scenes with our colleagues at Scottish Cycling, Welsh Cycling, Sport England, UK Sport, within government and those in other sports to develop clear guidance and plans to gradually return to activity.
“We plan to publish next month guidelines on what a staged return to all forms of activity might look like.”
The organisation added: “This is a changing situation but we are committed to updating all those who care for our sport as often as we can and with as much information as we can.”
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.