Season start uncertain

The cycling course has not yet started and the pandemic threatens new suspensions and logistical and economic problems for races and teams.

The new season has not yet started and the dynamics dangerously resemble that of 2020: postponements and cancellations of races due to the pandemic are still present, as well as logistical and financial problems for organizers and squads. If the virus allows it, the course will begin on January 24 at the Valencia Grand Prix, a one-day event that takes over from the Lluís Puig Trophy, which disappeared after the 2005 edition. For now, the teams are concentrating to prepare for the year (The UAE was even vaccinated), but the unknowns about the validity of the calendar, the restrictions and the options of the runners are multiplying.

Tests suspended. The start of the World Tour circuit was postponed until February 21, with the UAE Tour. The Down Under (January 19-24) and the Cadel Evans Road Race (January 31) fell due to the mandatory two-week isolation required by Australia, without the possibility of leaving the hotel room. La Amissa Bongo (January 18-24), Mallorca Challenge (January 28-31), San Juan (January 24-31), Langkawi (January 30-February 6), Saudí Tour (2-6 February), Oman and Colombia (February 9-14), and Antalya (February 11-14) also waived their dates due to different circumstances of the evolution and limitations of capacity and mobility of the pandemic. Murcia (February 12-13) considers requesting a transfer to May, such as the Challenge.

Bubbles. The bubble concept established in 2020 by the International Cycling Union (UCI) continues with the same validity. Many formations choose Spain for their stages due to the milder climate in winter: Jumbo, Alicante; Movistar, Almería; Bahrain and Deceuninck, Altea; Astana and Sunweb, Calpe; Trek and Ag2r, Denia; Lotto Soudal, Jávea; or Israel, Girona. Despite extreme care and avoiding outside contact, Superman was infected and will not join the telephone rally. The Colombian was in Madrid, trapped by the storm Filomena with his partner Iñigo Elosegui.

Measurements. The first event of the national and European program, the Valencia Grand Prix (without World Tour teams and with the four Spanish continents, Burgos, Caja Rural, Euskaltel and Kern Pharma), announced in its presentation that it will deploy a security protocol with space delimitation , social distance and requirement of PCR test for all participants. That will be the line of the rest. As always, the virus will determine the validity of the measures, although in Europe it does not seem that strict domiciliary confinements will be requested as in Asia or Oceania, nor will work trips be cut with its precautions.

Uncertainty. Some debuts are in limbo, like those of Chris Froome and Peter Sagan, who were going to start in San Juan, or Nairo Quintana, who wanted to start in Colombia. Egan Bernal planned the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana (February 3-7); Julian Alaphilippe, Provence (February 11-14); Mikel Landa, Andalusia (February 17-21); Tadej Pogacar and Mathieu van der Poel, the UAE Tour (February 21-27); and Primoz Roglic, directly from Paris-Nice (March 7-14). Their performance will be determined by the days of competition and the shooting in training. 2020 offered quite a few surprises.

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