After the March 2020 Tucson Bicycle Classic was cancelled in late 2019 due to what was initially referred to as a “lack of commitment from the local cycling community,” a new race committee was assembled in the hopes of resurrecting the event for the 2021 season.
Unfortunately, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which shut down virtually all racing in the United States in 2020, has claimed another casualty, scuttling the 2021 event as well.
An unsigned note from the organizers dated January 19, 2021 went over the reasons for the cancellation:
In September 2020, the new TBC Race Committee felt that resuming the event in March 2021 might be feasible despite COVID. An event date was secured from ABRA (Arizona Bicycle Racing Association), and contact was made with the various municipalities that hosted the most recent 2019 event.
In October 2020, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey announced that a special event permit would be required from the County Health Department before any other local permits could be issued. This new permit required that a detailed COVID Mitigation Plan be submitted and a COVID Safety Official assigned in order to secure the special event permit. This required modifications to the race format, and a number of other significant changes. After an encouraging survey of previous TBC riders, the race committee pushed forward with their plans for 2021.
In mid-November, the Pima County Board cancelled all events in the county for the remainder of the year, and the Pima County Health Department requested that the race committee put the permit application on pause until at least mid-December.
In addition, planned road construction in 2021 would mean that parts of the traditional courses would not be available for use in March 2021.
On December 15, ABRA forwarded guidance from USA Cycling recommending that all events in the first quarter of 2021 be postponed or cancelled due to ongoing pandemic concerns. At this point, the race committee made the difficult decision to pull the plug for 2021, and to try again for 2022.
The committee closed out their announcement with the following statement:
“We tried hard to bring the TBC back in 2021 but it wasn’t in the cards. The challenges we faced were similar to those faced by race promoters across the country. We are hopeful that as the vaccines become widely administered, road racing events will resume by this summer and that by March 2022, things may even seem “normal”. The new TBC race committee is committed to continue supporting El Grupo Youth Cycling (https://www.elgrupocycling.org/) as our primary charitable partner. See you in ’22!”