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Time-trials and hill climbs set to return in England this month

Joe Robinson
2 Jul 2020

Strict social distancing guidelines will be in place, including no crowds and no start pushers

Time-trial and hill climbs look set to return in July under a set of strict guidelines as the Government further relaxes its coronavirus rules.

In a letter sent to race organisers, the Cycling Time Trials organisation predicted that if government guidelines are sufficiently relaxed as expected on 4th July, racing will be able to resume in some form from as early as 6th July. Importantly, these guidelines only applied to racing in England, not Wales or Scotland.

'At the beginning of June, the Government relaxed the restrictions on social distancing. Whereas it is still not considered possible nor indeed appropriate to recommence CTT events as yet, it is anticipated that on or around 4th July the current restrictions may be relaxed further,' the letter read.

'In anticipation of that being the case, it is hoped that it may be possible to resume CTT events in July 2020.

'Currently, all CTT events are suspended up to and including 30th June 2020. To allow time to properly consider the expected Government guidance, Type B ‘club’ events are further suspended up to and including 5th July 2020 and all Type A events are further suspended up to and including 17th July 2020.'

The statement continued by saying that competition could only return if 'Government guidelines are relaxed sufficiently so as to allow for time-trials to take place, and it is considered those guidelines can be fully adhered to regarding social distancing' but that this could be as early as the 6th July.

With this being the case, local club time-trials and hill climb events could return as early as Saturday 18th July.

If they did manage to resume, it would have to fall in line with guidelines set out in a new CTT coronavirus risk assessment that has been sent to all event organisers.

The 15-page document sets out a range of social distancing protocols that riders, organisers and spectators would have to adhere to in order for an event to take place.

Within the guidelines, the CTT state that time-trialling 'inherently fits within a social distanced sport' and therefore would need no format adjustment in order to resume, except for the allowance of tandem rides and two-up time-trial events.

The changes, however, would lie in how both time-trials and hill climbs are implemented.  

The big changes for competitors will come in the form of sign-on, start and finish.

Firstly, riders will be told not to attend races if they or a member of their family feel ill in any way.

On arrival to events, the CTT will be asking riders to not gather in car parks or HQ areas and that warm-ups on static trainers will now be prohibited.

Riders will also be encouraged to bring their own pens to sign on while race numbers will either be provided to competitors in the post before the event, be allocated to a rider for the remainder of the season or be returned in a bucket of bleach and water.

Competitors will need to turn up to races fully dressed for the event and there will be guidelines as to when a rider needs to be present at the start line. Where possible, timekeepers will operate from a nearby car while 'pusher off' officials will also be scrapped with riders needing to start with one foot down.

At the end of a race, competitors will be asked to not stop at the finish while prize-giving and results will be communicated electronically or by post. Crowds will also be prohibited, especially at hill climbs, although the CTT does appreciate that 'time-trialling rarely attracts the spectators of previous years'.

Either way, it looks as if our beloved dual-carriageway time-trials could be back before the summer is out.

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