Speaking of fans ...

Amstel Gold cancelled as Dutch COVID restrictions tighten

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Amstel Gold has been cancelled following a decision from local Dutch health authorities that bans fans at all sporting events, including those that take place on open roads.

Both the men’s and women’s races were scheduled to run on October 10. The courses pass through multiple Dutch municipalities, including Eijsden-Margraten, Maastricht, and Valkenburg, which along with the region of South Limburg determined that staging the event is not possible given the current surge in COVID cases in the Netherlands.

“The past few months have been very intensive. The COVID-19 pandemic makes the organization of the Amstel Gold Race very complex,” said race director Leo van Vliet.

The organization had considered running the race on a smaller, 17-kilometer loop, with barriers around its entirety. But even that potential solution proved impossible to pull off safely.

“In the last few weeks, it became increasingly clear that a course through South Limburg, with visits to ten municipalities, was unfeasible. For this reason, we carefully worked on a new plan with a smaller circuit of 16.9 kilometers. The course and the area around it would be closed to the public in order to avoid crowds and to guarantee a distance of 1.5 meters,” van Vliet said.

“On Monday, we were fully prepared to make this public, but the new measures announced by the cabinet later that evening meant that the plans had to be revised again.

“With the condition ‘no public’ it became an almost impossible task. From Tuesday morning, we consulted with representatives of the Security Region and the municipalities. In their final assessment, the mayors established the impossibility of guaranteeing no public. Of course, no matter how much we hate it, we can’t help but respect this assessment. Of course, it does not prevent us from returning next year with a fantastic race.”

The announcement comes a day after the second stage of the BinckBank Tour had to be cancelled as made its way into the Netherlands from Belgium. Organizers moved the start of the third stage back to Belgium and changed Friday’s stage to an 8km time trial around the Belgian city of Riemst.

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