Cyclocross worlds to go ahead as planned

Jason Bean/RGJ

OSTEND, Belgium — The cyclocross world championships will go ahead this weekend despite the spread of a variant of the coronavirus, Ostend Mayor Bart Tommelein said.

Following discussions with the International Cycling Union and Flemish authorities, Tommelein said the city will be able to host the event with extra sanitary measures.

All attendees will have to undergo a mix of PCR and rapid tests in addition to the usual anti-COVID-19 measures. Riders, media and organization staff will be separated to limit contacts.

According to Belgian media, at least 15 people have recently been infected with the South African variant of COVID-19 in various healthcare institutions in the city.

Cyclocross is immensely popular in the Dutch-speaking Flanders region but races will take place without fans because of the pandemic. More than 20,000 people have died with the virus in Belgium.

The road world championships are also scheduled to be held in Belgium this year.