No bicycle racing in the world

Published 2:04 pm Friday, May 8, 2020

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There’s been no bicycle racing in the world since mid-March. The ban includes international races like the Tour de France postponed from a June start to August 29 start and the Johnson City Omnium postponed from May 30-31 to August 15-16.

Reneau Dubberley, director of the JC Omnium, has been working with the Tennessee Bicycle Racing Association (TBRA), USA Cycling (USAC), and Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) to minimize conflicts with other races.

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The postponed date will avoid local conflicts but not conflicts in the Southeast. With conflicts with TBRA races, there will probably be fewer racers in the Omnium, but the quality should be there.

Another consideration is the logistics of moving the races from May. Races require the availability of key volunteers plus others to make up the 50 or so people needed to put on the event.

The key volunteers were only available for the August 15-16 date.

The final consideration is the permitting of the event by Johnson City, Elizabethton, Erwin, and Unicoi County. Permits are unavailable at this time as the permission to have mass events in August is currently unknown.

The sponsors, New Belgian Fat Tire, Ballad Health, Curt Alexander Edward Jones, Nor-Well Mechanical Contractors, Visit Johnson City, Tour Carter County, and Tennessee Hills Distillery all agree they prefer having the event instead of canceling.

The safety precautions, such as hand sanitizer and temperature checks will be employed, but it will still be a mass event in which social distancing is impossible.

The racers keep training and wish for races in which to compete.

Keith Gerarden, from Chapel Hill, NC, winner of the 2019 Masters 35+ race, wrote, “..fingers crossed that it works out!”

With this local, regional, and national support, we hope things will return to some level of normalcy, and the visitors and locals can be entertained by national-level sports competition again.