Frank Jansen

2021-02-18

Events in 2021: CycloWorld's view

Nobody knows what 2021 will bring us, not even CycloWorld. Many cyclists are not thinking about cycling events just yet. Still, we get a lot of questions from readers asking us what we think. What will the 2021 season look like? We think that 2021 will be a year with many faces. We list some observations and predictions. Of course, completely without any guarantees.


Would this be possible again in 2021? Picture: Alpen Challenge Lenzerheide.

Not events, but traveling will be the biggest problem

It's already clear that in 2021 there will be far fewer tours organized than usual. For example, Cycling Classics France already decided last year to cancel a number of major gran fondos. However, we expect that there will still be enough rides. So finding an event will not be the problem. Getting there will be. Many countries keep their borders more or less closed using color codes and corresponding quarantine requirements.

Organizers will do their upmost

The organizers tell us that they are really doing everything they can to keep going. They are in constant contact with the local authorities. They lobby wherever they can. They devise protocols and think in terms of solutions. Their efforts are not lacking.



Large differences between countries

From the first lockdown, we learned that even the countries within Western Europe fail to have a common corona policy. This time, we will probably see very large differences between countries again. Countries like the Netherlands and Germany follow a strict line; the chance that events will continue here seems smaller than in, say, Southern Europe. Also, countries that rely heavily on tourism, such as Greece and Croatia, will open faster. Based on last year, France and Switzerland are the countries where events could occur.

Vaccination certificate or negative test required

It's a current affair: certain activities are only possible with a recent negative test or even a vaccination passport. We expect that this will also be the case for cycling events. Mass rapid testing is also a possibility.

More knowledge of outdoor infections

Compared to the first lockdown, there is now much more knowledge about outdoor contamination. This is possible, but it's rather rare. This is particularly good news for cycling events. As far as we know, no infections can be traced back to the events that went on in 2020 either.

Participant limits and other measures

In 2020, organizers have been able to experiment solidly with all kinds of corona protocols. Think about participant limits, staggered starts, wearing face masks and limited access when picking up start numbers. These are the measures we expect to see at the vast majority of events in 2021 as well. Things will also change in the food and drink stops. Think of handing over the of food and drinks instead of grabbing it.

Sport and mental health are hot topics now

The mental health of many people is in a sorry state. With sport, this can be improved. Moreover, sport is also a perfect way to stay physically healthy. We see in Europe that this awareness is growing and that is positive for organizers. We think that sporting events will be possible sooner than, for example, festivals.

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Tips

What can you do yourself? We'll help you get started.

  1. Don't get tied down to that one event. Don't be disappointed if your favourite event doesn't happen - plan something else. It's easy to make plans with our new free Planning feature.
  2. Block the period you want to go away, not the location, to give you maximum flexibility.
  3. Many organizers have a good arrangement should the event be cancelled. So don't be afraid to book your ticket.
  4. Some gran fondos are only one week apart. If you ride both, you will get the most out of your trip and may only have to quarantine once.
  5. When training, don't assume the event isn't happening. Just make sure you are in good shape.
  6. Pick the first event that comes along, at least you will have had that. Don't expect anything, it can only be better.
  7. Maybe corona gives stress and uncertainty. It certainly has an impact on your cycling performance. Don't be disappointed if your performance is not super.
  8. Make sure you have some backup challenges that can serve as a goal if it all disappoints.
  9. A cycling week with friends is fine alternative to a gran fondo to keep in mind. If necessary in your own country, if the borders are still closed.

Ski areas can't afford a summer without tourists

The winter season has completely fallen apart this year. In France, the lifts remain closed for the entire season. In Austria, areas are open only to Austrians, and in Switzerland, strict quarantine rules apply. In Italy, the opening of the lifts has been postponed twice. Through our contacts with the tourist regions we hear that this is very heavy and partly unexpected. For a long time, people still had hope that they could save the season. A summer without bicycle tourism? Many areas will not survive that.

After a winter with empty ski slopes, the areas must perform in the summer (photo Quenten Janssen).

We can forget about early spring 

We have to be realistic. The early spring can be crossed out anyway. Some big names have already been cancelled or moved. For example, the Jean Nelissen Classic in Luxembourg has already been canceled for 2021, and the Tour of Flanders for tourists ahave been moved to later this year. And many will follow. By the second part of the spring we are a little more positive, but the chances also seem high that most will be canceled. A harsh, but realistic conclusion.

Organizers look for alternatives

If it can't be done the way it should be done, then it should be done the way it can be done. We see that organizers are looking for alternatives. For example, NL Tour Rides spreads out tours over several days, always in small groups. There are also tours where you get a GPX and a goodie bag after you pay and ride it all by yourself. Some organizers, such as Haute Route, opt for indoor group rides on Zwift or Rouvy. Other organizers such as Golazo in Belgium wait as long as possible before publishing their calendar. We expect to see more innovative concepts in 2021.

Conclusion

All in all, CycloWorld is moderately positive. The social pressure will be enormous to allow travel again and sporting events to continue. That will be in the second quarter at the earliest, and always with adjustments. Of course, everything depends on whether the situation improves or worsens. A year without vacations is hardly bearable for people, and for the regions it could be disastrous. Perhaps not everyone is aware of it, but even in 2020 many events continued. For example, the people from CycloWorld still simply rode three foreign GF's. In any case, we are hopeful and expect that from May/June events can be organized again.

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