The 2021 season has already been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, with the beginning of the WorldTour calendar delayed whereas numerous different early season races have already been cancelled.
As Europe struggles to include an extra wave of the Covid-19 virus, nations are imposing varied ranges of restrictions within the hope of bringing an finish to the pandemic this 12 months.
However following the cancellation of the Tour Down Below and the postponement of different main races, when will the big-name riders be again within the peloton?
Étoille de Bessèges – February 3-7
The primary of the French stage races this 12 months, the boys’s 2.1-ranked race Étoile de Bessèges would be the start line for numerous WordTour groups and star riders.
A number of the largest names down to begin their seasons on this five-stage race embody world champion Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck – Fast-Step) and former Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers), together with the likes of Bauke Mollema and Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo).
The race runs from February 3-7.
Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana – February 3-7
Beginning on the identical day as Étoile de Bességes, Spanish stage race the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana is one other key start line for numerous the boys’s peloton.
This 12 months’s 2.pro-ranked five-stage race is anticipated to characteristic Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) and Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo).
Additionally be careful for a number of the greatest sprinters on this race, together with Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) and Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe.
The race remains to be scheduled to go forward from February 3-7, because the president of the Spanish biking federation confirmed the occasion will proceed.
Tour de la Provence – February 11-14
The second of the French stage races, working over 4 days, will as soon as once more characteristic some stars together with Alaphilippe as soon as once more, Philippe Gilbert (Lotto-Soudal) and Fabio Aru racing in Qhubeka-Assos colors for the primary time.
Vuelta Comunitat Valenciana Feminas – February 18-21
The primary main girls’s stage race on the calendar, this four-stage 2.1-ranked occasion will characteristic some world class expertise together with Annemiek van Vleuten who will make her Movistar debut and Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo).
Whereas the beginning checklist for this race is presently very sparse, that is more likely to be a key start line for another big skills within the girls’s peloton.
UAE Tour – February 21-27
After the cancellation of the Tour Down Below, the UAE Tour is now the official begin of the boys’s WorldTour calendar with seven phases taking in every of the seven Emirates.
Since its inaugural version in 2019, the UAE Tour has change into a preferred race for Grand Tour leaders and world class sprinters.
This 12 months’s version is about to characteristic Chris Froome making his debut for Israel Begin-Up Nation, Fernando Gaviria and Tadej Pogačar (UAE Workforce Emirates) competing of their staff’s dwelling race, and Adam Yates racing in Ineos colors for the primary time.
Final 12 months’s UAE Tour was reduce brief because of the pandemic and the extra journey to the Center East depart some considerations concerning the destiny of this 12 months’s version, however the organisers seem assured the occasion will go forward as deliberate.
Opening Weekend – February 27-28
For many individuals that is the official begin of the biking season, because the peloton head to Belgium for first of the spring Classics – Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne.
Count on to see all the standard rivals on this thrilling weekend of racing, with Lizzie Deignan (Trek-Segafredo) and Van Vleuten already confirmed for the ladies’s Omloop, whereas Gilbert, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Tom Pidcock (Ineos) all anticipated to affix the boys’s peloton.