2020 Tour of Somerville Cancelled!

A new reality has come to America with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) impacting our communities and daily lives. The Tour of Somerville (Tour) is no exception as we address the many challenges of hosting an event during a global pandemic. 

Since last year the Tour has been preparing to host the 80th anniversary with races in local communities, family fun rides, and the addition of a 43-mile citizen bike ride through Somerset County. 

An event the size of the Tour takes many months of preparation to host more than 25,000 spectators and over 1,000 cyclists from around the world. As the pandemic continues to shutter businesses, force people to stay home, and stress health services, the Tour recognizes the challenge of people focusing on a bike race. 

Therefore, like other major sporting events, including the Olympic Games, the Tour of Somerville has joined professional sports leagues by making the very difficult decision to cancel the 2020 event. 

“This was an incredibly difficult decision and was a choice of last resort. As a volunteer-driven event for more than 75 years, the Tour has entertained thousands of spectators every Memorial Day weekend since 1940, with the exception of World War II,” stated Mike Malekoff, Executive Director of the Tour.

As communities deal with this very fluid health crisis on a day-to-day basis, the Tour will re-examine the situation to determine if the race will be rescheduled or postponed until 2021. Remaining under discussion is the possibility of organizing citizen rides when the pandemic passes with a smaller version of the race for local racing cyclists. 

“The Tour of Somerville is among our signature events, and postponing the weekend festivities is a major decision, but at this time, it is the correct one” commented Somerville Mayor Dennis Sullivan.  “There will come a time for our public events to resume but in the meantime public health and safety remains our top priority.”

“As the title sponsor for the Tour of Somerville, we support the decision to cancel the event,” said Unity Bank President & CEO James A. Hughes. “The community looks forward to the bike race every year and the 2020 edition was going to be particularly important with the 80th anniversary of this historic competition. However, the health and safety of the community should be the only consideration as we all cope with the coronavirus crisis.”

It is important to continue the Tour’s mission of promoting the sport of cycling in Somerset County. Regardless of what the future brings, it is the Tour of Somerville’s position to acknowledge the challenges placed on local services including police, healthcare, borough operations, and the businesses that make Somerville so successful. This is not the time to burden the community with hosting a special event like a bike race. The Tour of Somerville will work toward the future and retaining our title as the “oldest bike race in the United States.”

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