CLAY COUNTY – The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed yet another victim last week. This time it was the multiple events of the National Cycling Championships.
The scheduled events in Keystone Heights, Penney Farms and Fleming Island have been canceled for this year, after having previously been rescheduled for September 10-13. With the resurgence of the pandemic following the reopening of the state and Florida regularly posting record days of new COVID-19 cases, it was decided by USA Cycling to cancel the events until next year.
“We’re disappointed that we’re not able to have everybody come in this year,” said Joel Lamp, Senior Director of Tourism and Events for Airstream Ventures. “But we’re looking forward to next year and continuing our partnership with USA Cycling and having everyone come back in ’21 for what will be an exciting championship.”
USA Cycling had worked for months and gone through multiple plans to try and find a viable way to continue to have the athletes compete in the events as previously planned.
“Throughout this time, we have worked to create alternative dates in the hopes that COVID-19 cases would decrease, sought alternative locations where needed, and looked to modify our events to mitigate risk and meet local regulations and requirements,” said the organization via press release.
Eventually, it was decided that they were unable to put on the events while ensuring the safety of all that would be involved. National level events typically bring spectators and competitors from all over the country, which in a time of social distancing would create uniquely unsafe environments.
The following events for the calendar year 2020 have been canceled so far:
USA Cycling Pro Road National Championships; USA Cycling Amateur Road National Championships; USA Cycling Masters Road National Championships; USA Cycling Gran Fondo National Championships; USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships; USA Cycling Elite and Junior Track National Championships; and, USA Cycling Masters Track National Championships.
“Our destination will welcome USA Cycling any time they want to compete here,” said Clay County Board of County Commissioners Chairman Gayward Hendry. “Having Clay County on the national competitive stage of cycling is exciting for our community, and our businesses will deliver a great experience that will hopefully make the competitors want to come back more often.”
2021 and 2022 will signal the return of the National Championships to Clay County and, with it, a significant boost in revenue that arrives with both competitors and spectators.