European Cycle Racing Championship for students cancelled
The European Cycling and Mountain Biking Championship for students that was supposed to take place in June in Nijmegen has been cancelled. ‘We tried everything possible, says Gijs Jongeneel, one of the organisers.
After they had to cancel the World Championship for students in Nijmegen last year due to corona, the organisers – mainly students from Radboud University and HAN – decided to organise a European Championship one year later; but because there is too much uncertainty surrounding the corona crisis, that event has now also been cancelled.
The organisers are very disappointed. ‘The corona figures gradually made it clear that a European Championship in June was going to be a close call,’ says Gijs Jongeneel, one of the organisers. ‘We tried everything possible. This is a well-thought-through decision: given the circumstances, it cannot be otherwise.’
At the moment it is not possible to obtain a permit in Nijmegen for an event such as a European Cycling Championship, not even on a closed track and without spectators. ‘Exceptions are only made for professional cycling races, such as the Tour of Flanders last weekend,’ explains Jongeneel.
The organisers explored many other options, such as having the event take place in a different location or organising it in bubbles, but all unfortunately without success. In particular, organising bubbles that only contain negative-tested athletes turned out to be very complicated.
‘The idea is that those bubbles are completely cut off from the outside world, so you even have to ask hotels if there are any other guests in that part of the accommodation. That makes everything very complicated. In addition, even with protocols for such a bubble, no license could be obtained at this time.’
Postponing the event a second time, for example to the autumn, was also not an option. ‘We are a group of young, driven people, who do all of this in addition to a study or permanent job, often partly setting them aside for our sport,’ says Jongeneel. ‘We have been working on this event since the 2018-2019 academic year. When your work and study also require attention, you can’t postpone such a European Championship indefinitely.’
‘When your work and study also require attention, you can’t postpone such a European Championship indefinitely’
By cancelling the event now, the organisation will not leave a financial drain. ‘We have made good agreements with the companies whose services we use, based on the idea that corona could throw a spanner in the works. It remains to be seen how grant providers, on which we also depend, deal with the cancellation of an event – but I think we managed that pretty well.’
A few events that were supposed to take place in the margins of the European Championship will still likely happen. For example, in May and June, in collaboration with HAN Sport en Bewegen, there will be a few activities oriented to children.
There may also be a European online cycling championship for students via Zwift, which was planned to take place in the weeks before the real European Championship. ‘Whether we will make that even bigger or have it take place on the date of the original European Championship, we don’t know at the moment,’ said Jongeneel.
Chairman of the organising committee Joost van Wijngaarden is also disappointed at the cancellation of the European Championship. ‘Our efforts may not have resulted in the amazing championship that we so badly wanted to achieve,’ he wrote in a press release from the organisation. ‘But each and every one of us has gained immensely valuable experience that will continue to benefit us for the rest of our careers.’