The organisers of RideLondon have announced that the already-reduced event scheduled for May 2021 will not be taking place. A virtual event is being planned in its place with hopes that the event proper can return in 2022.
A spokesperson said: “It has been confirmed today that the RideLondon festival of cycling, scheduled for the end of May 2021, will not take place due to the coronavirus pandemic. This decision has been taken by London authorities after engagement with partners involved in the planning of the event.
“Organisers of the event were looking at many different scenarios but with the extensive road closures required to put on the world’s greatest cycling festival and the number of participants and spectators, a decision has been made to focus on delivering a virtual event for 2021 and to concentrate on bringing the event back in 2022.”
London’s Walking and Cycling Commissioner, Will Norman, explained: “It is very disappointing that RideLondon cannot take place in May, but with London still in the grip of the Covid-19 pandemic it is the most responsible decision.
“We know many Londoners have taken up cycling over the past nine months and we are doing all we can to support this and help avoid the risk of a damaging car-led recovery, including rolling out new cycle lanes across our city.”
RideLondon director, Hugh Brasher, commented: "We know it is very disappointing news that the events planned for May cannot take place, especially for charities, however, I am sure everyone understands why this decision has been made and we look forward to welcoming participants and the professional peloton to ride the streets of London in 2022.
“We are currently working with the Mayor’s Office to deliver a virtual event in the summer designed to inspire as many people as possible to cycle more often and also to engage some of the hundreds of thousands of new or lapsed cyclists to raise money for the many charities whose income has been so affected by Covid 19.”
Even before cancellation, the 2021 RideLondon festival of cycling had been shaping up to be a diminished event compared to previous years.
In July, organiser London Marathon Events (LME) withdrew its application to the UCI to hold the men’s WorldTour race.
This didn’t seem to bode well for the sportive, which has historically taken place on the same route, and in October Surrey County Council withdrew its support, expressing a desire to support smaller “less disruptive events” in future.
Plans for the 2021 edition had been under review with a shorter 50km 'inspiration ride' likely in place of the 100-mile sportive, alongside the family-focused ‘FreeCycle’ and RideLondon Classique women’s race.