The Knight Frank Cycle to MIPIM event due to start this week has been postponed by its organiser, Club Peloton.
"The situation, advice and response to the Novel Covid - 19 virus is very dynamic and the actions taken by both the UK and French governments have stepped up over the weekend, with further updates from the COBRA meeting today," Club Peloton told riders by email today. "The welfare of riders and support crew is and always will be our number one priority and given the recent developments we have taken the very difficult decision to postpone both of the rides that were due to commence later this week. We know this will be disappointing for many of you and we share that disappointment, but we believe it is the right decision in the circumstances."
Cycle to MIPIM offered over 100 riders two six-day routes ending in Cannes, France, for the opening day of the MIPIM property conference. One route was to start in London, the other in Valencia, Spain. Bikes and crew are already in Spain in preparation for the ride start on Thursday. Riders will be informed when their belongings are ready to be collected. "The Club Peloton team will be working hard over the coming days to manage the situation and bring home crew already in France and Spain, as well as repatriate bikes that have been sent ahead."
Doubts were first raised when MIPIM organiser Reed Midem announced the postponement of its conference until June, as a result of the spread of coronavirus. Club Peloton stated that the ride would still take place, but fears grew as companies - including sponsors - assessed the risks of sending employees on a bike ride and return journey through potential coronavirus hotspots.
"We know how hard all of the riders have trained over the winter months and the Club Peloton team have also been working tirelessly to prepare for this event," the organisation said. "So thank you to everyone for all the hard work and for your understanding over the last few days, which have been very challenging for all involved."
Responding to the announcement, one sponsor urged riders to "rally 'round and support Club Peloton", adding: "The fallout from the risks materialising (however remote) could have been disastrous for sponsors and Club Peloton." Another rider said: "It's probably for the best. Really feel for the guys at Club Peloton. Must have been some sleepless nights."
Despite abundant support for Club Peloton, the timing is bitter for riders who had trained for months and were packing and preparing for the start on Thursday. No date was provided for the postponed ride to take place. There is continued uncertanty over whether MIPIM will take place in June, while coronavirus continues to spread. Club Peloton said: "The team will also be talking to riders, sponsors and supporters over the next few weeks to consider any plans for MIPIM in June, should it go ahead, and we will let you know as soon these are clear."
Some riders immediately began planning alternative bike rides via WhatsApp. "That was a lot of training so, positively, I'm getting on my bike on Wednesday and heading to Liverpool to see some old friends," said one. "Oh well, I don't have to bother tapering now," another commented. "I'm off on a bike ride." Another asked: "Does anyone want to start a six-day cycle on Thursday morning anyway?"
The N2B2C property cycling network immediately began planning an alternative event for the weekend. "I have just the ride for anyone who is fit and raring to go," said organiser Terry Crawford, construction director at project manager Forcia.
And John Forbes, financial consultant and veteran Cycle to MIPIM rider emailed plans for a half-day ride from London to Kent on 13 March: "To partially mitigate people’s disappointment... we will finish at the little French restaurant round the corner for Croque Monsieur and a glass of vin rose."
Details of forthcoming rides will be on our events calendar shortly.