LISTEN: James Robinson explains why Limelight Sports decided to postpone Etape Caledonia 2021
The May 16 2021 Etape road event running through Pitlochry is being postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Instead, the race is now set to take place on September 19 of this year when everyone is hoping that the nation’s health crisis has improved.
Manging director of Limelight sports, who are behind the race, James Robinson said: “So we’ve obviously have been following Scottish Government guidelines and also Scottish Cycling guidelines.
“And whilst we were optimistic that May twenty-twenty-one could be a situation where the event could be delivered, it was undoubtedly going to be delivered with serve restrictions to the event.”
As well as the restrictions in place limiting recreational activity and large groups, NHS Tayside is leading the charge in Scotland’s vaccination programme.
Now 38% of adults in Tayside have been vaccinated in the health board area and Pitlochry is home to one of the community vaccination centres rolling out the vaccine.
Mr Robinson added: “The other consideration that was brought to our attention while we were making the decision to postpone was that Pitlochry and the area was going to host a major vaccination centre.
“And whilst that wasn’t necessarily on the route of the Etape Caledonia, we spoke to our partners, Perth and Kinross Council, who were very keen for us to try and avoid that weekend and that period of time when the vaccination centre was going to be open.
“Because the closed roads were going to cause disruption to the vaccination of the population and understandably we saw that as a major priority.
“As a result of having a backup date in September, we agreed with the council that we would move it because of that.
“But also because, later in the year, subject to the announcements that are going to be made over the next few months by the Scottish Government, would enable us to deliver the Etape Caledonia to the expectations of the regular riders and the many new comers that we welcome to the area.”
Now the team is planning to continue the run the event in May time for the following years after the pandemic, treating this year as the exception.
Those who’ve already signed up for the May event will have their ticket deferred for September without having to do anything to update their access.
Some people have also been unable to join in September so some spaces have also freed up for enthusiasts who couldn’t enter earlier.