After a break of one year, one month and three days, yesterday marked a welcome return to road racing in England with the first in a series of pilot events taking place successfully in the Mendips.
Conor McGoldrick (Primera-TeamJobs) claimed victory from the 45-rider field, raced over 51km and three laps of the Priddy circuit, with Carl Jolly (University of Bristol) and Charlie Revell (Team Tor 2000 Kalas) second and third.
Resuming road racing has proved to be more challenging than the other cycling disciplines due to the duration of races, field sizes and requirement for local permissions, including from the emergency services. Despite this, British Cycling has worked hard alongside Sport England and others to support a gradual re-introduction of the discipline in Steps 2 and 3 of the UK Government’s Covid-19 Response Roadmap in England.
For Sunday’s event, mitigation measures including a mandatory virtual briefing for all riders, drive-through sign-on, temperature checks on arrival and moving the event HQ to a larger location to ensure adequate space for social distancing. Despite the fact that the field was limited to those living within a 20-mile radius, demand for entries was incredibly strong, with over 100 applications received.
Event organiser and British Cycling Regional Events Officer, Felix Young, said:
“First and foremost the riders were absolutely brilliant, and really understood their responsibility when it came to adhering to the rules in place and respecting eachother out on the road. The riders have had to be incredibly patient over the past year but they were all just buzzing to be back racing and even the guys out of the back crossed the line with big smiles on their faces.
“We’ve been planning the event since the Government first published its roadmap, and a lot of thought went into things like the location, the choice of event HQ and how we get all the important information across to our riders, officials and volunteers. We’re fortunate to have a fantastic relationship with the local police force, the Regional Board and other local stakeholders, and I can’t thank them enough for all of the support they offered us.
“Though the field size and duration were limited the event felt like a really important first step towards getting back to ‘normal’ road racing, and the demand for places should give us all cause for optimism about the health of the sport. We hope that the great success of the event gives other organisers confidence in the weeks and months ahead, and we’ll be working with others both in the region and nationally to share our own learnings.
“I’m personally really proud that we were able to host the first race here in the South region, and though it was a unique challenge, receiving such great feedback from the riders really has made it all worthwhile.”
For more information on upcoming road and closed circuit races in your area, click here.
To find out more about our plans to resume cycling activities and events under our The Way Forward guidance, click here.