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Cycling road world championships canceled due to coronavirus restrictions

GENEVA -- Cycling's road world championships next month were canceled Wednesday after a Swiss government ruling on mass gatherings during the pandemic was extended until October.

Organizers of the Sept. 20-27 championships centered on Aigle, home to the International Cycling Union, said they could not continue within a federal limit of 1,000 people for major events.

The decision followed the Swiss federal council extending the limit into a seventh month to Oct. 1 amid rising numbers of coronavirus infections in the Alpine nation.

Federal lawmaker Alain Berset said the situation was "delicate and uncertain," on the day 274 new infections were reported compared to around 15-20 cases daily in June.

The cycling road worlds already faced difficult scheduling with the men's time trial event on Sept. 20 clashing with the final stage of the pandemic-delayed Tour de France.

Organizers of the world championships also noted problems with riders and team officials from around 45 countries that currently face quarantine after entering Switzerland.

The latest Swiss federal guidance gave some hope to soccer and ice hockey leagues, which have warned that clubs need bigger crowds at games and more revenue to help them survive.

Professional sports teams will need permission from public authorities in their home canton (state) to host events with more than 1,000 people present.

"The cantonal authorities may refuse to grant a permit if the local epidemiological situation or their contact tracing capacities do not allow it," the Swiss federal council said.

The Swiss soccer league season is due to start Sept. 11.