Organisers of the 2020 BinckBank Tour have called off all Dutch stages of the international road cycling race following new measures taken by the Dutch government to fight Covid-19.
The decision by event organisers Golazo came late Tuesday after three Dutch municipalities blocked access for the peloton in the wake of new measures announced by top Dutch officials to fight a renewed surge of the coronavirus pandemic.
"BinckBank Tour organisers learnt shortly after 10 pm on Tuesday evening that three municipalities where the tour would start or finish, have made a combined decision not to allow a cycle race on their territories," Golazo said in a statement.
"The decision follows extra and stricter measures in the Netherlands announced on Monday," it said.
The Dutch government on Monday tightened some of Europe's most relaxed anti-virus measures as the country reported almost 20,000 new infections in one week.
Measures included recommending that people wear masks in shops, closing all sports canteens and holding outdoor sporting matches without spectators.
Golazo said it regretted the decision, and announced an unscheduled rest day Wednesday for cyclists, who were supposed to ride a time-trial in the southern Dutch harbour city of Vlissingen.
"It is impossible to come up with an alternative at such short notice and therefore Wednesday is an inevitable rest day."
There also will be no start in the Dutch border town of Philippine and the ride to Sittard-Geleen, in the southern Limburg province, also will not go ahead.
"Alternatives are rapidly being worked out," the organisers said, adding "for the sake of clarity, the BinckBank Tour will continue until Saturday.
After Wednesday's rest day, rides will take place on Thursday, Friday and Saturday from Ottignies-Louvain-la-Neuve to Geraardsbergen," the organisers said.
"We are of course very disappointed that this decision was taken, especially given the late hour," Golazo spokesman Gert Van Goolen said.
"We are convinced that we have found a safe and responsible solution to organise a good BinckBank Tour, but unfortunately this has not been heard," Van Goolen said.
Tuesday's first stage between the Belgian towns of Blankenberge and Aardoie was won by Belgian rider Jasper Philipsen of UAE Team Emirates.