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Cox Plate owners, connections allowed to attend Melbourne races with COVID-safe precautions


Crowds will return to Melbourne horse racing for the first time in months this weekend, for the running of the 100th Cox Plate.

The Moonee Valley Racing Club (MVRC) has struck a deal with the Victorian Government allowing up to 500 owners and connections to attend Friday night’s Manikato Stakes, and the same number for the Cox Plate the following day.

In a statement, the Victorian Government said measures in the COVID-safe plan approved for the events included a cap on numbers, staggered arrivals, time limits and temperature checks.

In total, there will be a maximum cap of 1,250 people on the course for each race meeting including jockeys, club operations staff, security, COVID-safe marshals and media.

“No more than 1,000 people will be permitted on course at any one time — in normal times, the venue can host 38,000 people,” the statement said.

Food and beverage service would be takeaway only and a limit on the length of time owners could attend on race days was still being finalised, the statement said.

No deal has been reached for crowds to attend the Melbourne Cup at Flemington on November 3, but the statement suggested owners and connections may also be allowed to attend the city’s iconic race.

“Changes to directions from the Chief Health Officer that allow persons with a business need to attend race meetings mean that connections will be able to attend metropolitan tracks that have COVID-safe plans in place ongoing, under set conditions,” the statement said.

Racing club welcomes ‘fantastic outcome’ for industry

“It’s fantastic news. It’s been a long time since we’ve welcomed owners onto the track here at the valley,” MVRC chief executive Michael Browell said.

“What better way to do it than the Cox Plate carnival.”

Officials were resigned to having no crowds at the race when in early September the Government announced its initial roadmap for easing restrictions.

But subsequent changes to that plan opened the door for an agreement to be reached.

“There have been a few curve balls thrown our way throughout this whole process,” Mr Browell said.

“We’ve worked diligently over the past week to 10 days to finalise these plans and to get the support from the Government and the DHHS (Department of Health and Human Services).

“It’s a fantastic outcome for the club, but also for the industry.”

Australia’s premier weight-for-age horse race has the added challenge of being scheduled on the same day as the AFL grand final this year.

“We can work hand in glove here. It can be complementary. We take the afternoon and then the night-time grand final,” Mr Browell said.

“We’re just glad that racing can take centre stage in an historic weekend of Australian sport.”



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Australian News

Bathurst 1000: Supercars live updates blog, Scott McLaughlin looks to win back-to-back races


Supercars are set to fly at the Bathurst 1000, with dark clouds hanging ominously over the Mount Panorama circuit.

Can Supercars champion Scott McLaughlin claim back-to-back wins or will another driver rise from the pack to claim victory on the mountain?

Follow all the updates in our live blog.

Live updates

By Simon Smale

When does Bathurst start?

             

The main race at Bathurst starts at 11:00am AEDT this morning, so in a little over half an hour!

               

There has been a short practice this morning, plus a couple of support races to lay down some rubber on a track that was washed clean by some overnight rain.

             

There may be more of that around today… 

By Simon Smale

Bathurst 1000 live updates, Supercars from Mount Panorama

          

Good morning motorsports fans and welcome to the ABC News live coverage of the Bathurst 1000!

           

I’m Simon Smale and I’ve strapped myself in for a big day of action, where Scott McLaughlin will be looking to pick up back-to-back wins on the Mountain.

              

Of course, it will be a Bathurst like no other today as just 4,000 of the usual 50,000-or-so spectators taking up their positions track side.

        

However, it will be my pleasure to be with you all day, so jump on and make this a two-way conversation. Hit the blue button that asks you to “leave a comment” and lets get your thoughts on what should be another ripping race.

           



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Australian News

The Great Race’s first winner Frank Coad remembers a rough, hand-laid track, and a car that dealt with it


The Bathurst 1000 is arguably Australia’s most famous race, the equivalent of the footy grand final for rev heads.

The smell of high octane fuel, burning rubber, and the sound of the supercars screaming past continues to draw thousands of spectators back to the Mount Panorama Circuit in Bathurst, Victoria, every year.

But the epic supercar race Australians have come to know and love looked very different when the first cars crossed the start line back in 1960.

For the first two years, not only did the race have a different name, but it was held in a different state.

Frank Coad and his co-driver John Roxburgh were the first winners of The Great Race, then named the Armstrong 500 and held on Phillip Island in Victoria.

While Mr Roxburgh sadly passed in 1993, Mr Coad is 90 years old and living in a retirement home in Bendigo, Victoria, with his wife Zena.

An older man wearing a hat and glasses standing in between two women.
1960 Armstrong 500 winner Frank Coad with his two daughters Susan Owen, left, and Julie Tyrrell.(Supplied: Susan Owen)

Preparation was key

He remembers the race as clearly now as it happened, 60 years ago.

“We felt pretty confident,” he said.

“John Roxburgh was my co-driver, he started off the race, he did 40 something laps, then I took over and did 40 odd laps, then he took over another 40, then I finished off the race.

“A fortnight beforehand we’d done a full 500 mile under race conditions.”

The car they won the race in was a Vauxhall Cresta, a six-cylinder sedan.

It certainly was not the race favourite.

But as Mr Coad will attest, it was all about preparation.

“We’d put in about three or four months of work getting ready for it,” he said.

“We had the car so finely tuned.”

He said the car clocked 98 miles an hour at race day, the equivalent of about 157kph.

“We had it sewn up pretty much after the first pit stop,” he said.

A black and white photo of the Vauxhall Cresta during the race at the 1960 Armstrong 500.
Frank Coad’s Vauxhall Cresta at Phillip Island during the 1960 Armstrong 500.(Supplied: Susan Owen)

Mr Coad said the drivers, brothers David and John Youl, brought the car over from Tasmania and did not know enough about the Phillip Island grand prix circuit — hand-laid using buckets of cold mix bitumen.

“We’d done all our preparation, we knew how far we could go on our front tyres without any troubles, and they didn’t.

“They went through the first pit stop and they carried on with the original tyres hoping they’d get another run out of them.

“But it didn’t happen.

“A tyre blew, they turned it over and wrecked it.”

The rough track was the reason the race was moved, as the bridge access to Phillip Island made it difficult to get the right equipment in to fix it.

Five men stand in front of cars.
Phillip Island legends Craig Lowndes, Peter Brock, Frank Coad, Russell Ingall and Mark Skaife meet in 2002.(Supplied: Susan Owen)

Mr Coad said he tuned in to watch Bathurst every year, but it was not the same race he remembered.

“That disappeared by about 1964.

“It’s all changed, it has done over the years — as everything does.”

Racing was ‘bad business’

Mr Coad said General Motors, the parent company of the Vauxhall brand, considered racing “bad business” and didn’t want the Melbourne Vauxhall dealership to be involved in the race.

“They weren’t into motor racing in those days,” he said.

A man and a woman stand wearing sunglasses in front of a car in a black and white photo from the 1960s
Frank Coad said his wife Zena Coad was a great supporter of his career and a fantastic passenger.(Supplied: Susan Owen)

He said when the Melbourne Vauxhall dealership opened after the race, the demand for the Cresta model went through the roof.

“They didn’t want to buy a Velox, they wanted to buy a Cresta and they couldn’t get enough Crestas to sell,” Mr Coad said.

He said the prize money for first place was a far cry from the amount the Bathurst 1000 winner would take home today.

“I was married with three little children. My wife was nursing a six-week-old baby when I won it,” he said.

Reviving history

Mr Coad’s daughter Susan Owen lives in Kalgoorlie-Boulder in WA’s Goldfields region.

She reached out to the ABC after hearing an off-the-cuff comment about the upcoming Bathurst 1000 race on local radio.

Ms Owen said she wanted Australia to hear her father’s story.

“A lot of people don’t know The Great Race started in Phillip Island and that’s the sad part, I suppose,” she said.

Since being stuck in lockdown, Mr Coad has not been able to get behind the wheel, but he still loves to drive.

“I drive around in a 1995 Holden ute today, but it’s done 430,000 kilometres,” he said.

He said he had always driven fast, and racing is in his blood.

He said there was only one thing holding him back.

“There’s too many police around,” he said.

Watch Brock: Over The Top at 8:30pm on Tuesday, November 3, on ABC TV+iview



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Formula One on the cards after Tailem Bend picked to host two Supercars races


South Australia’s Premier says the state does not have “buckets of cash” but would back a bid from the Murraylands town of Tailem Bend to host the Australian Grand Prix next year.

Steven Marshall says The Bend Motorsport Park is one of the best tracks in the world and would be perfect for the Formula One event if it could not go ahead in Melbourne.

The track’s owners, the Shahin family, announced today they were currently preparing to host two Supercars rounds on September 19-20 and 26-27.

Mr Marshall said the Formula One race could not be held as a street circuit in the CBD in the same way the Adelaide 500 Supercars race in February was.

However, he said The Bend would be suitable if Australia was obligated to host a grand prix and it could not go ahead in Melbourne, which is going through a second wave of coronavirus cases.

An overhead photo of The Bend Motorsport Park at Tailem Bend shows the large track complex in regional South Australia.
The Bend Motorsport Park in Tailem Bend.(Supplied: The Bend Motorsport Park)

He said the two-year-old track about 100 kilometres south-east of Adelaide was “one of the very best racing circuits globally”.

“We would look at every single option in terms of bringing events to South Australia,” Mr Marshall said.

“But of course it’s got to stand up from a commercial perspective.

Push to host more sporting events

South Australia will this week learn if its bid to host the AFL grand final at Adelaide Oval has been successful.

The state is also interested in hosting the Boxing Day Test if it cannot be held at the MCG.

Adelaide hosted the Australian Grand Prix from 1985 to 1995.

In March, the Melbourne grand prix did not go ahead after organisers cancelled it on the day because of coronavirus concerns.

Races have since recommenced overseas, including in Belgium on Sunday.

Two Red Bull Holden Commodore Supercars are parked in front of a pit garage
Two Holden Supercars in pit lane ahead of the Adelaide 500 in February.(ABC News: Lincoln Rothall)

SA Health reported no new coronavirus cases in the state today, the eighth day in a row without new infections.

“I think we’re in a very good position if the Melbourne grand prix doesn’t go ahead,” Mr Marshall said.

“Now, if there’s a requirement, South Australia stands ready.

“We’re not going over to poach it, but South Australia stands ready with a fantastic track.”

Owner keen for Formula One

The Bend’s managing director, Sam Shahin, said he had “kept chipping away” with the Supercars Championship to host the two races next month ever since the venue was left off the sport’s calendar during a June update.

A man holding a microphone close up
The Bend Motorsport Park managing director Sam Shahin.(ABC News: Lincoln Rothall)

With Supercars team holed up in Queensland and travel between South Australia and Queensland unrestricted, The Bend was perfect for the race, Dr Shahin said.

“To be able to house them at the onsite hotel at the Rydges Pit Lane Hotel for the entire duration of the 10 or 12 days was a key component to securing the deal,” he said.

He said expected between 5,000 and 10,000 spectators would be allowed to attend, along with 400 staff.

He said F1 racing could be held at The Bend with some adjustments due to the higher speeds involved.

Tailem Bend caravan park owner Trevor Morgan said previous races had brought the sleepy riverfront railway town to life.

“It’s been bedlam all weekend … really, really good,” he said.

Adelaide Grand Prix promotion from 1990
A 1990 promotional poster for the Australian Grand Prix when it was held in Adelaide.(Flickr: FotoSleuth)

Shahins in court over pay disputes

The Shahins own the OTR chain of service stations that was earlier this month ordered to pay almost $65,000 to a low-paid employee who was forced to work for free.

The chain has also been accused of wage theft that could amount to $70 million in underpayments to thousands of employees.

“That matter is still being dealt with and I hope in due course we’ll be able to talk about that in full detail,” Dr Shahin told ABC Radio Adelaide this morning.

The company’s proposal for a new seven-storey headquarters with a helipad on it has also provoked opposition.



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Tour de France 2020: Who you need to look out for and how the race of races is coping with coronavirus


The professional peloton is once again set to compete in the sport’s race of races, the Tour de France.

As with most sporting events this year, cycling’s biggest race was not only postponed but was forced to make a number of adjustments to the way it was run due to the coronavirus pandemic.

However, with coronavirus cases in France surging, questions have been raised as to how the race can even take place at all and whether the restrictions in place will be effective or simply strip the Tour of its character.

Should the Tour de France be taking place at all?

On Wednesday, coronavirus cases in France jumped to 5,429 — 2,000 more than Tuesday’s number.

Countries neighbouring France have begun enforcing quarantine restrictions on visitors from certain regions and masks have already been made mandatory in some towns.

And yet, the travelling roadshow that annually traverses the French countryside is still gearing up to roll out of Nice on Saturday.



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MotoGP, Moto2 races rocked by terrifying crashes at Austrian Grand Prix



Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi has urged riders who make their way up to the premier class to exercise caution when fighting for track positions to avoid a repeat of the horror collision that halted the Austrian Grand Prix on Sunday.

The red flag came out early in the race when Franco Morbidelli’s Yamaha collided with the Avintia Ducati of Johann Zarco, with their cartwheeling bikes nearly taking out Rossi at turn three of the Red Bull Ring.

The two bikes missed the 41-year-old and teammate Maverick Vinales by inches as they slowed down to negotiate the turn and Rossi looked visibly shaken when he returned to the garage before the race’s restart.

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“It was so scary, it was terrifying,” Rossi, a seven-times premier class champion, said.

“I think it is good to be aggressive because everybody tries to do the maximum, but for me we don’t have to exaggerate, because we need to remember that this sport is very dangerous.

“You need to respect the other riders that are on track with you. We can’t forget this sport is very dangerous, especially in a track where you have long straights and you’re always going 300kph.”

Rossi said he “will pray tonight” after the incident.

“But then Franco’s bike passed me at an incredible speed and also the bike of Zarco jumped over Maverick. We were very lucky, but we hope this type of incident is a lesson for riders to improve their behaviour in the future.”

Jack Miller takes third

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Andrea Dovizioso took the chequered flag, after race leader Alex Rins of Suzuki crashed with 10 laps to go, to keep the team’s perfect record at the Red Bull Ring intact.

Ducati have won every race since the circuit was introduced on the calendar in 2016 and it was the Italian rider’s third victory on the track, having won in 2017 and 2019, while it was Ducati’s 50th premier class win.

However, the manufacturer lost out on a one-two finish when Joan Mir capitalised on Australian Jack Miller’s mistake on the penultimate corner of the final lap.

Miller started well off the line on both occasions but struggled for grip on his soft front tyre towards the end of the race.

KTM’s Brad Binder finished fourth while Rossi, who had started 12th on the grid, moved up the field and put the near-death experience of the crash behind him to finish fifth.

Moto2 race halted for crash

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Earlier in the day, the second-tier Moto2 race was also halted after another sickening crash.

The chaos started when Enea Bastianini, the championship leader, dropped his bike coming out of the first corner before scrambling away from the circuit.

That left his machine in the racing line with the entire field battling for position behind him.

Most riders dived out the way of the stricken bike, except for Hafizh Syahrin, who ploughed straight into it, destroying both bikes and leaving the Malaysian rider sprawled on the track, some distance down the straight.

Two other riders, Edgar Pons and Andi Farid Izdihar collided after attempting to avoid the debris scattered across the circuit but escaped serious injury.

Syahrin was taken to the medical centre, but only suffered bruising, according to his team.

Reuters/ABC



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F1 returns to Imola, Nurburgring as Americas races cancelled


Formula 1 has scrapped all four of this season’s races in the Americas due to the COVID-19 pandemic and has added three European rounds, including old favourites Imola and the Nurburgring, to the calendar.

The sport cancelled its Americas swing though, with Grands Prix in Canada, Texas, Mexico and Brazil falling foul of the rising coronavirus toll in those countries.

The cancellations take the tally of races axed from the original 2020 calendar to 11. The other casualties of COVID are Australia, France, Monaco, the Netherlands, Azerbaijan, Singapore and Japan.

The revised schedule now has 13 rounds, with Formula 1 aiming for a reduced championship of between 15 and 18 with final races in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi in mid-December.

Fifteen Grands Prix is the minimum needed to fulfil television contracts.

China’s postponed race in Shanghai is also expected to be cancelled but Vietnam remains in play and there has also been talk of returning to Malaysia’s Sepang circuit.

Daniel Ricciardo drives a yellow and black formula one car
Daniel Ricciardo has finished eighth in consecutive races this season.(Pool via AP: Mark Thompson)

Formula 1, whose commercial rights are held by US-based Liberty Media, said it looked forward to returning to the Americas next season.

The United States on Thursday (July 23) passed a total of more than 4 million coronavirus infections since the first case was documented in January, according to a Reuters tally.

Texas, which was due to host the US Grand Prix at Austin’s Circuit of the Americas on October 25, has been one of the states hardest hit by the resurgent coronavirus.

Brazil, with total confirmed cases of nearly 2.3 million, has the world’s worst outbreak of COVID-19 outside the United States, while Mexico ranks fourth in the world for fatalities.

Formula 1 said the historic Nurburgring would host the Eifel Grand Prix, named after the German region, on October 11 — giving champions Mercedes a home race.

The Portuguese Grand Prix will be held on October 25 at the Algarve circuit, the country’s first race since 1996.

Of current drivers, only Lewis Hamilton has driven an F1 car on the circuit, meaning it will present a new challenge for drivers.

Lewis Hamilton rubs his face in disbelief from the drivers seat of his car.
Lewis Hamilton will drive a Mercedes in a home Grand Prix at the Nurburgring.(Pool: Joe Klamar)

Imola will host the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix on November 1 — giving Italy three races for the first time.

The others are at Monza and Mugello, the latter owned by Ferrari and due to host the Italian team’s 1,000th world championship Grand Prix in September.

The only other occasion one country has hosted three races in the same season was 1982, when the United States had Grands Prix at Long Beach, Detroit and Las Vegas.

Imola previously hosted the Italian Grand Prix in 1980 and San Marino Grand Prix from 1981 to 2006. The only current driver to have raced around the bumpy, challenging circuit, is Kimi Raikkonen.

Imola hosted some thrilling races in that time, but in F1 circles the circuit will forever been tainted with tragedy.

Brazil’s triple world champion Ayrton Senna died there in 1994 while driving for Williams.

The Nurburgring remains one of the most alluring venues in motorsport, primarily due to its notorious, 22km Nordschleife configuration.

A man drinks champagne from a shoe as another man watches on in the background.
Mark Webber (right) won at the Nurburgring in 2009. Ricciardo’s best position is 12th in 2013 driving the Toro Rosso.(AFP: Loic Venance)

That marathon course has long been replaced by a remodelled circuit, which last featured in the Formula 1 world championship in 2013.

Aussie Mark Webber won at the circuit in 2009, while Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel have also claimed victory on the updated circuit in recent years.

In its long history, the rural circuit has hosted races variously designated as the German, European and Luxembourg Grands Prix.

Hamilton currently leads the 2020 World Championship from his teammate Valtteri Bottas after three races.

Reuters/ABC



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‘Virtual cross country’ races take off amid inter-school sports ban


But they remain off the agenda until further notice, even as schools prepare for normal programming in most other areas from June 9.

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The Department of Education and Training gave schools a checklist of prohibited activities as the first wave of students headed back last week.

The list is depressingly long: assemblies, after-school activities, excursions, inter-school sports, school camps, concerts, library borrowing and “any other activities deemed unsafe due to health and wellbeing concerns” are out.

Physical education classes will be permitted, but should be conducted outside, or with a cap on numbers if held indoors.

Siena, a committed netballer, says many of her classmates are eager to get back into school sport, and not just for the physical exercise they are craving.

In a mentally draining year for VCE students, sport provides a much needed stress release, Siena says.

“A lot of girls at my year level, they really just enjoy the break of being able to do sports, because it’s not just about being good at sport, it’s about having a balance of doing other things with friends rather than just studying constantly.”


One competitive event was added to Victoria’s otherwise barren school sports calendar last week: “virtual cross country”.

The initial take-up has been overwhelming, the Department of Education and Training said.

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A total of 3880 students at 188 schools have entered the virtual cross country event since it was launched by School Sport Victoria two weeks ago.

Students who participate must complete a defined distance but can walk or run and are free to set their own course, using a phone app to time themselves. Results are posted online.

Meredith Prime, chief executive of Girls Sport Victoria, said more than 1000 girls competed in the organisation’s separate virtual cross country event last week.

An inter-school “championship event” is scheduled for this week, although Ms Prime said it would look very different from previous years when girls gathered in droves to race each other around a large public park.

“They could run up and down the street on the footpath if they wanted to; they could go down to the local oval and run around that,” Ms Prime said.

A spokesperson for the department said it would continue to take advice from Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton in deciding when to lift bans on competitive or contact sport.

“We want students to remain active during this time and schools have been provided advice to ensure this can happen safely,” the spokesperson said.

“All inter-school sporting events and competitions have been postponed until further notice, however schools are getting their students involved in virtual sporting activities and non-contact sports.”

Catholic and independent schools have so far fallen into line with the department’s directive on school sports, even though some of them made their own calls on when to begin and end remote learning.

Catholic Education Victoria chief executive Jim Miles said that on the advice of Professor Sutton, Catholic schools have cancelled or postponed all sports competitions, camps and excursions that cannot be delivered digitally.

Fintona principal Rachael Falloon similarly said the school was “at the mercy of the government and they’re making decisions based on good health advice”.

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Eagle Farm Racecourse bomb threat in Brisbane delays races


Bomb threat at the races: Meet is suspended after police swarm a course in Brisbane

  • Bomb threat delays races and meeting at East Farm racecourse in Brisbane
  • Police officers were seen monitoring the racecourse following the threat
  • Brisbane Racing Club took to Twitter to say, ‘all people on course are well’ 
  • The races have since got underway, but were delayed by an hour on Saturday 
  • There were no spectators at the racecourse because of coronavirus restrictions 
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

A bomb threat has forced horse races to be brought to a standstill in Brisbane.  

The Eagle Farm racecourse was placed into lockdown on Saturday as police investigated the threat. 

Brisbane Racing Club tweeted the race start times had been pushed back while specialist officers were drafted in. 

Punters had been excited to watch the Champagne Classic Day on Saturday, despite still not being allowed to attend in person because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Eagle Farm racecourse (pictured) has been placed into lockdown as police investigate the threat

The Eagle Farm racecourse (pictured) has been placed into lockdown as police investigate the threat

Brisbane Racing Club tweeted the race start times had been pushed back

Brisbane Racing Club tweeted the race start times had been pushed back

‘We will await more information from stewards and police before the meeting resumes.

‘All people on course are well. We expect to be underway again shortly.’ 

Races were delayed for around an hour, but were resumed at 1pm.

Reports suggested the bomb threat had been a ‘hoax’ and there was no risk of harm.

It is the first race day at Eagle Farm since it had a revamp, but due to limits on public gatherings because of the coronavirus, the public are not allowed to attend.

Instead, races are being streamed online.

Racing is one of the last remaining sports in Australia after the coronavirus sparked the suspensions of the NRL and AFL seasons.

Protective measures have been put in place to protect the racing industry from coronavirus sanctions.

Victorian jockeys are banned from competing in NSW, while NSW jockeys have been organised into three sectors within the state, with jockeys can allowed to compete in their designated sector.

Horse racing was also underway in Sydney's Randwick (pictured) on Saturday, with the industry forced to adopt strict coronavirus measures

Horse racing was also underway in Sydney’s Randwick (pictured) on Saturday, with the industry forced to adopt strict coronavirus measures

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Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a Espana to overlap as cycling tries to pack major races into October


Cycling authorities have announced a plan to run a condensed season featuring a frantic October packed with overlapping Grand Tour events and most of the one-day classic races.

As world sport tries to cope with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, cycling has responded to the crisis by attempting to cram seven months of major races into just three in the hope of staving off what is being called the “catastrophic situation” of not completing the season.

The Giro d’Italia will start on October 3 and the Spanish Vuelta will be held from October 20, the International Cycling Union (UCI) said on Tuesday, as it published a heavily revised calendar.

Four of the top five one-day races will also be held in October.

The World Tour season will officially begin on August 1 with the Strade Bianche one-day race in Tuscany and end with the Tour of Lombardy on October 31.

The three grand tours of France, Italy and Spain will be sandwiched in between.

The UCI said on its website the new calendar would give different types of riders the most opportunities for races within a short time frame.

The sport’s governing body is now working on health rules for teams, riders and race organisers, and all cycling will remain subject to the progress of the coronavirus pandemic, president David Lappartient told reporters.

“We are monitoring the situation across the globe very closely and our project could change depending on the pandemic,” he told a video news conference.

The UCI last month said the Tour de France would be held from August 29 to September 20 after the governing body suspended elite racing until August 1.

With almost 200 riders packed in the peloton at times, and many thousands of fans lining the roads, cycling faces a unique challenge to keep its participants and supporters safe.

“There are a lot of questions. We are working on measures to impose on the organisers, on the teams and the riders,” Lappartient said. “It’s a big piece of work.”

Scheduling conundrum

Dust rises as professional cyclists clatter along the cobblestones in a section of Paris-Roubaix.
The Paris-Roubaix one-day race will now clash with the finale of the Giro and week one of the Vuelta.(Reuters: Pascal Rossignol, file photo)

The Giro will be held over 23 days ending on October 25, while the Vuelta will finish on November 8 after the first three stages — initially set to be held in the Netherlands — were cut from the program.

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With many races postponed already, the UCI, organisers and teams were faced with a conundrum after saying the three grand tours and five top one-day races would all go ahead.

Milan-San Remo will now be held on August 8, while Liege-Bastogne-Liege is set for October 4, the Tour des Flandres on October 18, Paris-Roubaix on October 25 and the Tour of Lombardy on October 31.

Paris-Roubaix, the “Queen of the classics”, will hold a women’s race for the first time on the same day as the men’s, setting off ahead of them, its organisers Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) said.

The start of the Vuelta will now overlap with the final stages of the Giro, but the UCI said it had little choice.

Should the season not be completed, cycling could be “in a catastrophic situation”, the Frenchman added, although the sport does not rely on TV rights to survive.

“Our sport is based on individual sponsors and that is what could save our teams,” he said.

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Former crew reveal coronavirus saga aboard the Ruby Princess

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