La Vuelta 20 will not take off from the Netherlands. Due to the exceptional situation caused by the COVID-19 crisis, the organising committee of La Vuelta Holanda has been forced to cancel the official departure of the race from the Dutch regions of Utrecht and North Brabant.
The local organisation committee and Unipublic have been forced to make this decision as a result of the reorganisation of the 2020 cycling calendar announced by the UCI (International Cycling Union) on the 15th of April and due to the measures that have recently been implemented by the Dutch government forbidding the celebration of sporting events until the 1st of September. All of this now places the celebration of La Vuelta after the Cycling World Championships and not during its original dates (14th of August – 6th of September).
Despite both parties’ wishes to try to maintain the official departure from Utrecht, it has not been possible to find a new date in which to hold said project, given the new constraints. “The departure of La Vuelta 20 from Holland was a project that had been designed as a big summer party. Faced with the impossibility of ensuring the planned development of the race’s official departure, with all of the required guarantees for an event of these characteristics, La Vuelta Holanda has preferred to request the official departure’s cancellation”, they have stated.
La Vuelta Holanda Director, Martijn van Hulsteijn: “It is clear that there is great disappointment in Utrecht, Breda, ’s-Hertogenbosch and the provinces of Utrecht and Noord-Brabant. We were ready to organize a fantastic event in the weekend of the 14th, 15th and 16th of August. Since we heard of the change in the UCI calendar, we have discussed with all parties to find out if the start in the autumn would be possible, but it turned out to be too difficult of an assignment. Moving three stages, on three days, through 34 municipalities with start and finish places in various places turned out to be a bridge too far. For example, we did not have all the needed infrastructures at our disposal. In addition, a lot of road works were carried out around the 34 participating municipalities in the autumn. The impact would be too great. Even if you leave the desirability and uncertainty in Corona time out of the discussion”.
Jan van Zanen, mayor of Utrecht, on behalf of the three cities and two provinces involved in the organization of the official start: “We were all looking forward to celebrate a Spanish fiesta in all the participating municipalities. But it turns out not be technically feasible and we have concluded there is too much uncertainty about the development of the coronavirus. A huge disappointment, but health comes first.”
“The change to the calendar resulted in a modification of the original program. We discussed this with our Dutch partners, with whom we have worked in absolute harmony and in complete collaboration. We realised that it would be impossible to carry out this project under these new constraints”, explained the General Director of Unipublic, Javier Guillén. “It is a complicated decision, one you never want to make, but which we have found ourselves compelled to do due to the complex circumstances we are currently living, which surpass any foreseeable expectation”, he added.
La Vuelta 22 on the horizon
Unipublic and La Vuelta Holanda are working on the possibility of the Netherlands hosting the official departure in the very near future. The first potential start date being discussed for the country to host the La Vuelta departure is 2022, but with no certainties. In this sense, Javier Guillén has insisted that resuming the departure from Holland is “a priority” for the organisation. “We have seen so much enthusiasm and a very high degree of involvement. It is a pleasure to work like this. The very least we can do is to begin exploring the possibility of departing from the Netherlands in the near future, and we trust that we will be able to do so as soon as possible”, he specified.