WORDS: BOB VARNEY
MEDIA: BREAKAWAY DIGITAL
With the excitement of the Tour de France Virtual becoming a distant memory, it’s been a busy and stressful few weeks becoming acquainted with the ever changing UCI Covid-19 protocols and testing requirements.
I am thankful that we chose not to accept our invitations to the three Baque one-day races at the end of July, as we would have had endured the added stress of a 14 day isolation for both riders and staff upon our return. We chose to wait, watch and learn from the experiences of others so that we could guarantee as safe a return as possible to international travel and racing.
The strong but entirely justified actions of the CCC-Liv team certainly focused everyone’s minds on the disparity within the women’s international peloton when it comes to resources to apply the necessary protocols. We have worked responsibly to appoint a Covid-19 Consultant, a Team Doctor and source the relevant PPE to keep our riders and staff safe during these unprecedented times.
With initial estimates putting the cost of testing for a UCI Women’s Team at €25k for the remainder of the season, this is certainly an extra challenge on already stretched budgets. To help cover some of these extra costs we have launched a Team Issue Supporters Pack for sale in the shop section of this site. All proceeds will go to keep the team safe and racing during these unprecedented times.
Unfortunately, we did not gain a wildcard invitation to return to La Course later this month, but France is very much in our sights. The next races on our programme are the National Championships in the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden later this month, followed by the iconic Tour d’Ardeche in France commencing on 3rd September. We then have several one day races in Belgium and Northern France in preparation for the traditional ‘Spring’ classics in October.
The remaining UCI calendar is extremely fragile, with Covid-19 cases once again rising throughout Europe, initiating the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to advise against all but essential travel to several European countries, including Belgium and Spain. The daily increase of cases in France is of immediate concern as we finalise our travel logistics to Ardeche.
The latest gloomy warnings from Switzerland regarding the World Championships in Aigle-Martigny only heighten the sense of foreboding. The UCI certainly have the most difficult challenge of any of the world governing bodies and I certainly don’t envy them the decisions that they are having to balance right now
In brighter news, we were delighted at the response we had following the announcement that we are seeking a new corporate partner to help us take the step up to World Tour status, with the requirement for minimum salaries, maternity rights, medical support and full-time staff.
I’m cautiously optimistic to report that we have two ‘meaningful’ conversations ongoing with several other ‘warm’ leads being progressed.
Thanks for your continued support, all the best.