Tour of the Gila canceled due to coronavirus concerns

Tour of the Gila is canceled.

The hardest stage race in the U.S., scheduled for April 29 to May 3 in Silver City, N.M., will no longer take place due to concern over the coronavirus, or COVID-19, pandemic.

Race director Jack Brennan said he was saddened to have to cancel the 34th annual edition of the race. He said he carefully considered the situation after discussions with local officials and others associated with the event.

“Silver City Mayor Ken Ladner and Silver City Town Manager Alex Brown provided leadership and guidance that was important in making this difficult decision,” Brennan said. “Public and participant safety is always of most importance; thus, this hard decision had to be made.”

Brennan said planning for the event started a year ago and was well into final preparations. The UCI Men’s and Women’s events attracted 11 international teams, including from Ecuador, France, New Zealand, Canada and Mexico. At least 19 pro men’s teams and 12 pro women’s teams would have competed.

Brennan said the amateur field also was stacked with top talent.

“Overall, Tour of the Gila was staged to be one of the largest and best caliber races in its 33 years,” Brennan said.

Joey Iuliano, president of the Arizona Bicycle Racing Association, had registered to race Tour of the Gila in the Men’s Cat 1/2 field.

“It’s a bummer to see,” Iuliano said. “I totally understand the hard work that goes into an event of this scale, but it is the right call to make. Besides good hygiene, social distancing is the best way to stop the spread of COVID-19.”

Brennan extended special thanks to sponsors, volunteers and state, county and municipal agencies.

“I am disappointed we are not racing this year, but looking forward to 2021,” Brennan said. “Plans are beginning now. We will see you in Gila 2021 and also for the Gila Monster Gran Fondo on Saturday, Oct. 10,” Brennan said.