The second wave of the coronavirus has made its first victim in the world of cycling: the Dutch stages of the BinckBank Tour have all been cancelled. The Dutch government has issued stricter rules yesterday, as numbers are on the rise again. Bars and restaurants are to close at 22h, people aren't to gather with more than four people and spectators are no longer allowed for sports events.
As a results, the mayors of the towns involved in the BinckBank Tour have decided to not allowed the Dutch stages. Tomorrow was supposed to be an ITT in Vlissingen (NL), Thursday's stage was set to go from Philippine (NL) to Aalter (BE). Friday's stage starts in Riemst (BE) and ends in Sittard-Geleen (NL). Saturday's stage is all on Belgian soil, but if the rest of the rest is cancelled that one looks unlikely too.
Wow this is very upsetting— Koen de Kort (@koendekort) September 29, 2020
For now, tomorrow will be a 'rest day'. The organisation is looking for alternatives in Belgium for Thursday and Friday's stages, but it's very unsure how fast they can pull that off. They are, let's say, not amused by the decision. "It is extremely annoying to find out, this late in the evening when the cyclists are nearly all sleeping, that tomorrow we'll be empty handed." One possibility is that there will be an ITT on the Zolder race track (you know, where the Boxing Day CX is. You remember CX, right).
"Painful, but necessary"
The decision has been made, says the press release, "because it is impossible to follow the stricter rules. It is no longer allowed to have spectators at sports events. Furthermore, there are additional rules like the size of groups and the rules concerning athletes and organisers from countries that have been given a code red or orange."
"It's a painful but necessary decision to stop the spread of the virus", says Vlissingen's mayor Bas van den Tillaar.
What about Amstel?
Amidst all this, it seems ever more unlikely that we'll have an Amstel Gold Race this year. It's supposed to be on 11 October, but the new Dutch rules are in effect for at least three weeks. You do the maths (I'll help: it doesn't look good). If all that wasn't enough, Paris-Roubaix and even the Vuelta have questions marks surrounding them as well.
But hey, at least we had the Tour.