British Cycling Cancels Most National Championships for 2020

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In a move that’s not entirely surprising, British Cycling has cancelled all but its winter National Championship 2020 cycling events.

British Cycling has been issuing regular updates on what activities its affiliated clubs and events can put on. Group rides are back on, with social distancing in place, but National level racing is now confirmed as off the cards for 2020. They’ve even gone so far as to check out with the UCI what existing riders should do with their National Champions jerseys: the answer is to wear it for another year.

However, there is some hope for those keen to race, because some regional level events in England are to be allowed to take place after August 1st. British Cycling believes that BMX, cycle speedway, track, circuit racing, road time trials, cyclo-cross, and cross-country and gravity mountain biking should be able to take place with additional safety measures in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

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Will there be an opportunity to get between the tape this year?

Mass start events are planned initially to return on private circuits only – so there’ll be no sportives or other group events cruising through any small local villages. Something readers of certain newspapers will no doubt be pleased about.

It’s perhaps easy to see how time trials and gravity MTB could be made safer – they’re outdoors and with plenty of space between riders. But track, indoors? Or any of those other disciplines where rider pile-ups are a common feature? Hmm. We await with interest the guidance, which British Cycling is still working on.

British Cycling Integrity and Compliance Director, Rod Findlay, said: 

“After several months of exploring alternatives and discussions with the relevant authorities, today we have made the difficult decision to formally cancel all national series and national championship events in the disciplines of road, cross country, down hill and 4X mountain biking, BMX and cycle speedway. This is not a decision we ever wanted to make however in the interests of providing clarity and certainty to our teams, riders and event organisers we believe it is the correct one. I’m pleased to say that the organisers who were to host events in 2020, will retain them for 2021.

“Our team is now working hard to lay the groundwork for resuming regional-level activity, and we remain hopeful that we will see some competitive racing next month. Plans for our winter programme are progressing well and though the past three months have been frustrating for all of us, I want to thank everybody involved in our sport for their patience and understanding in challenging circumstances. We can also now look forward to our national championships returning with strength in 2021.”

National Champs 2019
Future CX contenders, maybe? Credit: 5311 Media

At present it looks like they’re hopeful that the National Championships for Cyclo-Cross will go ahead. Maybe all the DH Racing folks will have to take up ‘cross to get their race fix?

Slightly different restrictions are in place in England, Wales and Scotland, so check out the respective governing bodies for full details on what you can and can’t do right now.

Welsh Guidance

Scottish Guidance

The full British Cycling Statement is below:

BRITISH CYCLING UPDATE ON REGIONAL AND NATIONAL-LEVEL RACING

British Cycling can today give an update on our work to enable people to return to the sport of cycling, and in particular the blanket suspensions of regional and national-level racing, which are currently due to run until August 1 and September 1 respectively.

  • Please click here for the latest update from Welsh Cycling around their events and series.
  • Please click here for the latest update from Scottish Cycling around their events and series.

On June 18, we lifted the suspension on club and group activity in England with the publication of the first iteration of The Way Forward, our guide aimed at empowering the people at the grassroots of our sport to resume activities. Our clubs have taken this opportunity to begin responsibly organising activity in small groups, and this weekend sees the return of our led ride programmes, HSBC UK Breeze and Guided Rides, which are a vital gateway to cycling for thousands of people every year.

Regional racing

Currently, regional-level racing is suspended until August 1, and we committed ourselves to giving four weeks’ notice of any extension or curtailment.

At this stage, we do not believe there is a case to extend the suspension of regional-level racing beyond August 1, because there are certain formats in a number of disciplines of our sport which may be in a position to return sooner than others – provided they can comply with the relevant government guidelines in place at that point. This is still expected to include restrictions on group size, hygiene controls and social distancing, format of the activity and any additional measures such as restrictions on travel.

The disciplines and formats we believe could make the earliest return include BMX, cycle speedway, track, circuit racing, road time trials, cyclo-cross, and cross-country and gravity mountain biking. British Cycling staff are currently working with the respective discipline commissions and colleagues at Scottish Cycling and Welsh Cycling to produce a framework including guidelines and tools for the safe return of each discipline.

We are keenly aware that road racing is the passion of a great number of our members. While we were able to reintroduce small club rides on June 18, we believe there are particular challenges when it comes to reintroducing this discipline as well as other mass-start events on the public highway, including sportives.

These challenges include the impact on the communities whose roads we use, field sizes and the support required from emergency services. Therefore, it is likely that when mass start road events do return, they will do so first on closed circuits.

Of course, all of this planning and all of this work depends on the relevant restrictions put in place by the government authorities in England, Scotland and Wales. We will continue to work closely with event organisers, our cycle sport commissions and other volunteers, as well as colleagues in Scottish Cycling and Welsh Cycling, to be in the best position to react quickly to support and enable activity, as the restrictions change. This includes ensuring we are able to react to any localised restrictions, such as those recently introduced in Leicester.

However, we wanted you to know that while not all disciplines and formats will return at the same time and in the same way, we are working hard with colleagues in government and across sport to help organised cycling return as soon as is practical. Our aim is to be flexible and responsive as conditions change to support our sport which is, like many others, largely volunteer delivered.

National Series and National Championships

Racing at national series and national championships level is currently suspended until September 1. Following consultation with teams and event organisers, we do not believe it is possible to this year hold national series and national championships in disciplines which take place in the spring and summer months. This means we will not see national series or championships in road, mountain biking, BMX and cycle speedway. The exceptions to this are some national youth and junior events which, with school sport expected to return in September, could still take place on rearranged dates. In addition, we remain hopeful that national series and championship racing could take place in cyclo-cross and track later this year and in early 2021.

This news will come as a disappointment to many – a feeling which everyone at British Cycling shares – but particularly to those who hoped to compete for the jerseys which are awarded to our national champions and worn with pride in races around the world.

British Cycling Integrity and Compliance Director, Rod Findlay, said:

“After several months of exploring alternatives and discussions with the relevant authorities, today we have made the difficult decision to formally cancel all national series and national championship events in the disciplines of road, cross country, down hill and 4X mountain biking, BMX and cycle speedway. This is not a decision we ever wanted to make however in the interests of providing clarity and certainty to our teams, riders and event organisers we believe it is the correct one. I’m pleased to say that the organisers who were to host events in 2020, will retain them for 2021.

“Our team is now working hard to lay the groundwork for resuming regional-level activity, and we remain hopeful that we will see some competitive racing next month. Plans for our winter programme are progressing well and though the past three months have been frustrating for all of us, I want to thank everybody involved in our sport for their patience and understanding in challenging circumstances. We can also now look forward to our national championships returning with strength in 2021.”

Following advice from British Cycling, the UCI have confirmed that current national champions will be permitted to continue to wear their national champions jersey until the next edition of the relevant event.

Later this month, we plan to publish an update to The Way Forward with further detail on the return of organised cycling, including information to help event organisers, and we will continue to add to our series of webinars aimed at supporting all those involved in delivering our sport. In addition, we will communicate further on points and categories for this year.

In the meantime, we are grateful for the continued support of our members, the volunteers on whom our sport depends, and everyone who loves cycling.


Comments (1)

    Best outcome in my view. There has been no racing this year and this will allow current champions to show off their jerseys next year.

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