Tour of Britain cancelled, route to be used for 2021

FILE PHOTO: Cycling - Tour of Britain - The 173.2-km Stage 4 from Gateshead to Kendal - Britain - September 10, 2019 Mark Cavendish of Team Dimension Data (4th L) passes the Angel of the North Action Images via Reuters/Lee Smith

LONDON (Reuters) - This year’s Tour of Britain scheduled for September has been cancelled and the same route will be used for the 2021 edition, organisers said on Thursday.

“The decision has been taken in light of the ongoing situation with the COVID-19 pandemic, which makes continuing with the planning and organisation of the 2020 race impractical,” a statement said.

The high-profile race which attracts crowds of 1.5 million spectators was won last year by Dutchman Mathieu van der Poel.

This year’s route would have taken the peloton through Cornwall for the first time and would have finished in Aberdeen.

Organisers ruled out holding their Tour without spectators, saying it would go against what the race stands for.

“Across the UK there are significant doubts around the potential to stage large-scale public events and gatherings such as the Tour of Britain as early as September and while any form of social distancing remains in place and there isn’t a vaccine available, people’s health and safety must come first,” the statement said.

“By moving this year’s planned route to September 2021 our venues and partners will be able to enjoy a full 12-month build up to the race and once conditions allow we look forward to engaging communities across all eight stages.”

The provisional dates for the 2021 event are Sept. 5-12.

Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Pritha Sarkar