The Healthy Ageing Tour has confirmed its elite women’s event will go ahead in March, with an abbreviated three day format, no spectators and closed courses.
The 2.1 ranked Dutch event said while the elite women’s event was going to run in “a strict bubble” conditions meant it felt compelled to cancel the planned Healthy Ageing Tour for junior women and Olympia’s Tour. Organisers said an exception had been made for the elite women’s event as the field includes only UCI World Tour Teams, UCI Continental Teams and two national selections of professional athletes, plus the top level competition is crucial to athletes in an Olympic year.
“Many of the Healthy Ageing Tour participants will be participating in the Tokyo Olympics later in the year. The Dutch stage race is an important preparatory race for them, also because few time trials will be organised for this category this spring,” said the race organisers in a media statement.
The reduced three day tour – which normally runs over five days and was on the UCI calendar for four this year – is scheduled for March 10 to 12. The closed-course race starts in Assen on a TT circuit and the second day will be an individual time trial on the Marnewaard barracks. The final stage will take place on a track on and around the VAM-Berg in Wijster, an area that features in Ronde van Drenthe and was used for the Dutch Championships last year.
The race was not held in 2020, and was rescheduled from its traditional April slot on the UCI calendar to March this year, when it was planned to be held in conjunction with the Olympia’s Tour (2.2) for elite and under-23 men. The 2020 cancellation was just one of many due to COVID-19 and as those cancellations have also continued into 2021, the Healthy Ageing Tour will help bolster a thinning early season calendar.
The UCI last week said that 38 men’s and women’s professional events had been cancelled or postponed this year due to COVID-19. One of the most recent among the women’s schedule was the highly-regarded Women’s Tour, who requested a postponement from June to October due to the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and long lockdown in Great Britain.