The early season of the cycling world is taking a major hit from COVID-19 as the Vuelta a San Juan becomes the latest event to be canceled following the Tour Down Under. As the omicron variant continues to ravage worldwide, pro sports has to tiptoe around delicate guidelines and protocols. The latest updates and information for passionate fans can be found on puntersport.com.
This will be the second consecutive year the Vuelta a San Juan has been abandoned due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year’s event was supposed to take place from January 30 to February 6, but local authorities and race organizers announced Monday that it would not take place after a recent increase in the number of COVID-19 cases due to the omicron variant.
2019 winner Remco Evenepoel (QuickStep-AlphaVinyl), Filippo Ganna, Elia Viviani (Ineos Grenadiers) and Peter Sagan (TotalEnergies) were among the riders who were scheduled to start their 2022 season in Argentina. However, the riders and their teams will now have to revise their calendar for the start of the season and may have to ride races in Spain or France before the start of the season.
The Vuelta a San Juan follows the cancellation of the Tour Down Under and Cadel Evans’ Great Ocean Race in Australia. The Tour of Colombia 2022 has also been canceled due to financial difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The organization of the Vuelta a San Juan informs that, considering the health situation in the world, the region, the country and the province due to COVID-19, and taking into account the different statistics known from official bodies, it has decided to suspend the Vuelta a San Juan as an international event,” read a statement from the race organizers.
The organization added that it continues to evaluate the possibility of organizing the Vuelta a San Juan 2022 as a strictly national event with local teams.
At a press conference in San Juan on Monday, Jorge Chica, the province’s Sports Minister, explained that the increase in the number of coronavirus cases in recent weeks prevented the event from going ahead.
Speaking to the press about the decision to cancel the event, Chica said the health of the people of San Juan was a priority, but it did not make the decision any easier. The financial impact of canceling an event like this and the value it brings to San Juan in terms of attention will be huge losses to concede, but health is paramount.
“It saddens those of us who love sports, but also because of the positive economic impact these events have,” Chica added.