Mountain bike World Cup race in Quebec cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic

Canada's Emily Batty at the UCI mountain bike world cup at Mont-Sainte-Anne in Beaupre, Que., on Sunday, August 2, 2015. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

The UCI Mountain Bike World Cup event scheduled this summer in Mont-Sainte-Anne, Que., has been cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The fifth stop on the 2020 World Cup series was set to take place Aug. 21-23. Mont-Sainte-Anne had hosted a UCI-sponsored event every year since 1991, including the mountain bike world championships in 2010 and 2019.

Quebec has prohibited events from being held until Aug. 31.

Gabriel Fontaine Leclerc, general manager of event producer Gestev, said plans to reschedule the race in the fall were not feasible.

"Our priority above all else is the health and safety of the athletes, volunteers, employees and thousands of spectators," Leclerc said in a release. "Too many questions remain unanswered for us to pursue the possibility of postponing the event until the fall, and considering the sheer complexity of such an undertaking and the major challenges involved for our partners it is not feasible for us to explore this option.

"Let's consider this a rain check for 2021."

Cycling Canada head of development and operations Mathieu Boucher said the decision to cancel was disappointing, but the health and safety of athletes took priority.

"We all have a duty to support the efforts of the public health authorities to mitigate the transmission of this virus," Boucher said in a statement.

The first five rounds of the World Cup series have been postponed or cancelled due to the novel coronavirus, as have the 2020 mountain bike cross-country world championships in Albstadt, Germany.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 5, 2020.

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