The 52nd edition of the Tour de l’Abitibi, scheduled for July 12 to 18, 2021, and the Tour de la Relève, which was supposed to take place on July 17 and 18, 2021 in Rouyn-Noranda, are postponed until next year, due to the current situation surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic.
The risk assessment, the health measures to follow in an international event and the uncertainty of financial support are some of the reasons explaining this decision. The organization of the Tour de l’Abitibi favors the safety of the riders, volunteers and local population, to the holding of this edition.
The health measures and organizational changes required to minimize the risks of the virus spreading, while complying with the government’s and the International Cycling Union’s recommandations were analyzed. It seems very difficult to follow some of these measures due to unique features of the Tour de l’Abitibi, such as teams’ accommodation in schools and meals served in the cafeteria, to name a few.
« It represents a tremendous workload for the organizing committee. Also, these measures would have quickly discouraged the volunteers from getting involved. The Tour de l’Abitibi must remain a flawless event, locally valued and of international reputation », said the Tour de l’Abitibi president, Suzanne Fortin.
Besides the 2021 to 2026 agreement with Amos, Rouyn-Noranda and Val-d’Or, the funding of international sporting events is, to this day, still uncertain. Such a wide-ranging event requires careful planning, over several months. The uncertainty concerning the health measures that will apply in July jeopardizes the commitments of a regular planning schedule.
« The risks of the event becoming a source of new virus outbreaks was also an issue for us. Out of respect for our valued partners and the population in general, who are always behind us, year after year, the decision to postpone, once again, the 52nd edition was the one to be made », mentions Mrs. Fortin.
The organization of the Tour de l’Abitibi is currently looking into the possible opportunities to locally share its expertise and equipment for the summer season. Discussions are to come in order to analyze the various options.
Economic impact for the region
The activities of the Tour de l’Abitibi and the Tour de la Relève annually attract 156,000 spectators, 17,000 web viewers from 45 countries, more than 200 participants and 500 volunteers. They provide undeniable national and international exposure for Abitibi-Témiscamingue. A study conducted in 2017 reveals an economic impact of $ 1.2 million for the region, specifically in the host cities.
The next edition of the Tour de l’Abitibi should take place from July 11 to 17, 2022, in Amos. As a Nations Cup event, the Tour is holding the highest level of sanction awarded by the ICU. The reputation of this competition has reached beyond our borders. It ranks among the most important junior races in the world. Approximately 150 riders take part in the Tour de l’Abitibi each year.