British Cycling has announced that road racing in England is now permitted to return in full, following an overwhelmingly positive response to the first 17 pilot events delivered across April, May and June.
British Cycling commenced its plans to resume road racing through a series of pilot events in Step 2 of the UK Government roadmap for England, which began on April 12. Although the move to Step 4 of the roadmap has been delayed, the national governing body believes it has sufficient evidence and understanding to support a full return.
In line with events across the disciplines, organisers have implemented a range of Covid-secure measures to ensure safe event delivery, including: limits on race duration and field size; virtual pre-race briefings for riders, officials and volunteers; socially distanced sign-on areas; increased signage in event areas; and test and trace measures.
In order to better understand the impact of the new measures in place, British Cycling surveyed over 400 riders, volunteers and event officials who attended the pilot events. When asked how comfortable they felt attending under the measures in place, 94% of participating riders rated their experience as 8/10 or above. Of those who gave an answer, 84% of officials and volunteers were satisfied or very satisfied with the level of refresher training they received, while 88% said the same of pre-race briefing procedures.
Road races in England will now adhere to the standard British Cycling Technical Regulations and risk management procedures, in addition to the Covid-secure guidance on safe event delivery set out in the organisation’s The Way Forward guidance. This covers matters such as social distancing, sign-on procedures and test and trace, and further guidance for road event organisers is due to be published in the coming days.
British Cycling’s Head of Sport and Major Events, Jonathan Day, said: “We’re incredibly thankful to the event organisers, riders, officials and volunteers who have helped to make this pilot phase such a great success, and I’m thrilled that we are now able to move closer to normal delivery as the HSBC UK | National Road Series calendar gets underway.
“The learnings we have taken from the pilot events, and the insight we have gained from riders, officials and volunteers, will play a really important role in demonstrating to local councils, police forces and other stakeholders that road race events can be delivered safely under the current guidance in place.
“Although the move to Step 4 in England has been delayed, the foundations we have already put in place over recent months to support the safe return of our sport have put us in a really strong position to push forward with our own plans, and ensure that riders are able to benefit from a greater number of racing opportunities in the second half of the season.”
The women’s HSBC UK | National Road Series begins on Sunday with the Women’s CiCLE Classic, while both the men and women will be racing in the first round of the HSBC UK | National Circuit Series in Otley on Wednesday 30 June. You can find out more here.