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Velo racing could return before July

Cycling | Published:

THE Guernsey Velo Club have drafted up their course of action for a shortened season.

GVC president Mark Smith says they will split competition into two stages – firstly time-trials, and secondly road or mountain-bike racing – with the former starting first and implementing strict anti-coronavirus measures.

But Smith is reluctant to suggest dates, even more so than athletics development officer Tom Druce, who has tied a controlled return to track and field action to stage four of the States of Guernsey’s lockdown exit strategy – potentially late June.

Smith will be especially keen to follow Health & Social Care’s guidelines on social distancing.

‘It’s not so much saying “Yes, we will do this in phase four or on a set date”,’ he admitted.

‘Even when you are riding individually, there’s an element of people gathering at the start and finish.

‘Even though you are social distancing, we are still gathering,’ he added while noting that using open roads is rather different to an enclosed athletics track when concerning interactions with the public.

Yet Smith added that he is willing to see if British Cycling will consider Guernsey’s unique situation and enable competition earlier than their own guidelines, currently 1 July. Such time-trials will implement certain measures to eliminate social contact at gathering points.

Smith will also be lumping stage-two races with contact sports, theoretically allowable in phase five, even though cycling is very different to rugby or football.

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‘You do have a bunch of people in a close group, breathing hard and sweating,’ said Smith.

‘It might as well be a contact sport – same with mountain biking as we are on single track and in close proximity with each other when we are racing.’

The result is a ‘two to three month season’ where no event or championship trophies will be awarded in the interests of fairness. But Smith says they are willing to extend the calendar beyond 30 September – the usual end date – to ensure they complete as much of the road season as possible.

Meanwhile, Zwift competition will shift to criterium and even hill-climb events. A recent Zwift rule change has allowed GVC to create private events, giving them the option of contesting infamous ascents such as the Alpe d’Huez without outside competition.

Jamie Ingrouille

By Jamie Ingrouille
Sports reporter

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