Rescheduled from its traditional April slot on the UCI calendar as a race for elite women, the 2021 Healthy Ageing Tour will move to early March and be held in conjunction with the Olympia’s Tour (2.2) for elite and under-23 men.
The new dates for the women’s UCI 2.1 stage race will be March 9-12, positioning the event between the early spring Women’s WorldTour races of Strade Bianche (March 6) and Ronde van Drenthe (March 14). Since 2013 the Healthy Ageing Tour has also hosted a junior women’s competition and while the preliminary dates of March 10-12 have been selected, a final decision has not yet been made about continuing the race for juniors.
The 2020 race was not held, being part of the tidal wave of cancellations around the world due to the COVID-19 coronavirus. The 2019 event had six stages over five days, with a time trial held prior to a 75km stage on a cold day that included snow flurries. The overall title was won by 22-year-old German Lisa Klein (Canyon-SRAM), which was her first GC victory as a professional.
“At the moment and under the current circumstances, the organization does not consider it self-evident to bring riders aged seventeen and eighteen from all over the world to the Northern Netherlands,” Thijs Rondhuis, race organiser who is with Courage Events, said in a press release.
“If it turns out to be impossible and responsible to also have the Healthy Aging Tour for elite women and Olympia’s Tour for elite men take place in March, they will be postponed to the autumn.”
The final courses for the women’s and men’s races have not been confirmed for next spring, although organisers noted that “circuits outside urban areas” would be a focus for planning, as well as staging start and finish locations away from dense city centres. A time trial stage would also be part of the races.
“In this way we can respond to changing circumstances and we take into account an event with a limited or no audience. At the moment there is a good chance that the matches can continue under these circumstances, based on the corona protocol of the KNWU,” Rondhuis said, referring to input from the Royal Dutch Cycling Union.
“We are well aware that at the moment there is no one hundred per cent certainty that a stage race will be held this spring. However, teams do not benefit from all organizers moving their game to the fall. We will do everything we can to provide a race offer when the race is ready again. This time too, we are in close consultation with the licensing authorities about the conditions and options.”
The 2021 Healthy Ageing Tour will be its 10th anniversary for elite women, continuing to be held in the province of Groningen in the Netherlands. It began in 2011 as a multi-day stage race called the Energiewacht Tour, and in 2017 was renamed to the Healthy Ageing Tour to reflect its connection to HANNN, Healthy Aging Network Northern Netherlands.