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August 13, 2020
Photography by Cor Vos
After months of uncertainty, plans to hold the 2020 UCI Road World Championships in Aigle-Martigny have been called off, with the UCI now looking for alternative options to hold the event elsewhere in Europe.
A government ban on events of over 1,000 people will remain in place in Switzerland until at least September 30, and organizers released a statement on Wednesday explaining that upholding the necessary safety measures would have been an “insurmountable obstacle” given the number of events over the course of just over a week.
“We are sad and disappointed,” said organizing committee co-chairmen Grégory Devaud and Alexandre Debons in a statement. “We have worked hard for almost two years to deliver a magnificent event on an extraordinary course.”
Wednesday’s news does not come as a major surprise after recent reports in the Swiss press had suggested that the prospect of holding Worlds there was becoming increasingly unlikely—but it does represent an about-face from what organizers publicly announced in June.
In the early goings of the racing hiatus, rumors emerged that the UCI might move Worlds to the Middle East, but organizers said in June that they were moving forward with plans to hold the event as initially scheduled. With government restrictions still in place, however, organizers have ultimately made the decision to call off the event.
Following the announcement from the Aigle-Martigny organizing committee, the UCI quickly announced that it is investigating other options to hold Worlds elsewhere in 2020.
“This naturally leads the Union Cycliste International to think about an alternative solution,” said UCI president David Lappartient. “From today, I will therefore work to guarantee the staging of the UCI world championships in their entirety on in part, if possible on a circuit just as steep as that of Aigle-Martigny and we will work mainly to relocate them in Europe.”
It is not yet known what possibilities the UCI is evaluating, but Lappartient emphasized that the governing body is committed to ensuring that some iteration of Worlds takes place.
“We will make a final decision at the latest next September 1,” he said. “But I wish to tell you that we will put all our energy into ensuring that these UCI World Championships take place, because the UCI World Champion’s jersey is the most reputed jersey in the peloton and the grail for the riders.”