Tour de mujeres pospuesto por incertidumbre en torno a la pandemia

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La organizadora de la carrera del Women’s Tour ha anunciado que la edición de 2021 se pospondrá de sus fechas originales de junio. El evento de seis días estaba programado para comenzar en Oxfordshire el 7 de junio, pero el organizador Sweetspot ha decidido posponer el evento para reducir las complejidades de realizar un evento seguro de Covid.

Sweetspot, en conjunto con British Cycling, ha solicitado a la UCI una nueva fecha y espera que pueda tener lugar entre el 4 y el 9 de octubre, un mes después de otro de sus eventos, el Tour de Gran Bretaña. Recientemente se vieron obligados a posponer su Serie de Criterios del Tour.

«Obviamente estamos decepcionados de posponer el Tour Femenino para junio, pero esperamos que al intentar organizar la carrera en octubre podamos darles a los equipos y al público algo que esperar al final del verano», dijo el birector de la carrera Mick Bennett. en un comunicado de prensa.

Desde sus inicios en 2014, el Women’s Tour se ha convertido en una de las carreras femeninas líderes en el calendario, y es muy apreciada por su organización, espectáculo y desafío deportivo. Sin embargo, con la pandemia en curso que causa incertidumbre en todos los aspectos de la vida, y mucho menos en el deporte, la decisión de reprogramar fue quizás inevitable.

«Hay varias razones [for the postponement,” Sweetspot’s chairman Hugh Roberts told Cycling Weekly. “The most important is our relationships with stake holders, those being the various venues around the country with whom we work so closely.

“They are being drawn in all sorts of different directions trying to cope with the situation and are nervous about being seen to be putting an event on that, as it stands right now, goes against the guidance which is the received wisdom.

“Even then we need to spend at least four months preparing for the event to make sure they get the crowds they need to justify being involved in the first place. It’s far better to make the decision now and move to when we could reliably put the event on in October, then continue to have that sword of Damocles hanging over us.”

Though no one can know where the fight against Covid-19 will be in October, Roberts is confident the race can go ahead in it’s rescheduled slot: “If I was a betting man I would say that it is 75/25 in favour of it happening.

“Let’s hope the government and the sports authorities treat the races as a celebration of the fact we are back to normal,” adding he would be interested in ideas of how the races can celebrate health and key workers who have worked so hard.

The 2021 women’s calendar has already been hit by cancellations, with the usual Australian races going the same way as their men’s equivalents, and there has been no European racing yet after two Spanish races were cancelled.

However, the traditional Classics opener at Omloop Het Nieuwsbald is set to go ahead on February 27, though Omloop Het van Hageland, normally run the following day will not take place. 

Dutch one-dayer Ronde van Drenthe would normally happen in March but has requested an alternative date in late October. New Spanish Women’s WorldTour stage race Itzulia is also seeking another date after postponing last month, and with few available dates in summer all three could come together to make an intense end to the year.

“It makes October a little more interesting,” Canyon-SRAM team manager Ronnny Lauke told CW. “At the moment you have two race days at the beginning of October and then Chrono des Nations in the middle and Drenthe at the very end so having a stage race in October is actually a good thing.”

The uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has caused teams to reassess how they operate, with travel causing a particular headache for Lauke.

“In a normal season I sometimes book with low cost carriers in January for [races in] Julio, agosto y septiembre porque las tarifas aéreas son tan bajas en ese momento. Esto no es posible, ahora reservo con una semana de anticipación como máximo, probablemente más tarde porque no tienes seguridad de planificación.

«El Women’s Tour es uno de los aspectos más destacados del calendario femenino, por lo que es una lástima, pero mientras exista la posibilidad de que suceda en 2021, es una gran señal».