Thousands of cyclists eagerly awaiting this year’s Etape Caledonia will have to wait a bit longer after the coronavirus outbreak forced the postponement of the 2020 event.
The UK’s original closed-roads sportive was due to return to Pitlochry on Sunday May 17, with around 5,000 riders expected to descend on the local area.
But organisers have now confirmed that they are heeding First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s advice on mass gatherings above 500 people, and revealed they are working with Perth and Kinross Council and other stakeholders to secure an alternative date.
A statement from organisers to participants read: “It is with a heavy heart that we can confirm that the 2020 edition of the Etape Caledonia, due to take place on Sunday May 17, will be postponed.
“Along with the rest of the UK, we have been closely monitoring the escalating coronavirus situation. In light of the First Minister’s recent advice that all mass gatherings above 500 people should be cancelled or postponed in Scotland for the foreseeable future, we feel that it is only right that we do not proceed at this time.
“We would like to express how sorry we are, and thank everyone for your passion, enthusiasm and dedication in the lead up to the event.
“We know you will be as disappointed as we are. Given your support and commitment, the Etape Caledonia was scheduled to be another fantastic event.
“We were looking forward to welcoming a number of you for the first time, whilst welcoming back many who have taken on the challenge in previous years.
“We know how hard you have trained, with many fundraising for our amazing charity partners too.
“So, we know how much you were looking forward to the big day.
“But we hope that you will agree that under the circumstances, it is the right thing to do.”
The sell-out event sees participants choose from either a 40-mile or 85-mile route through Highland Perthshire, taking on some of the most breath-taking climbs and most stunning views in the world.