Mountain biking is among the disciplines affected by the UCI decision ©Getty Images

Olympic and Paralympic qualification for Tokyo 2020 in four International Cycling Union (UCI) disciplines is set to be retroactively stopped as of March 3 in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The UCI said it would ask the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and International Paralympic Committee (IPC) for qualification in mountain biking, BMX racing, BMX freestyle and Para-cycling road to conclude from that date.

It would mean all athletes who are in a qualification spot would be automatically awarded a Tokyo 2020 berth, providing the IOC and the IPC agree to the request.

In a statement, the UCI said it had made the decision "to preserve sporting equity for the athletes" and claimed continuing with the process in the four disciplines would result in "unfairness between nations".

The UCI added that between 70 and 85 per cent of the qualifying events in the four sports had already been completed.

The date was chosen because no nation had been prevented from travelling to events before March 3.

"The request has been presented to the IOC and the IPC, in order to allow publication of the Olympic rankings and quotas of the remaining disciplines as soon as possible," the UCI added.

Tokyo 2020 qualification is also finished in road, track and para-cycling track.

BMX is also impacted by the UCI calling an early halt to Tokyo 2020 qualification in four of its disciplines ©Getty Images
BMX is also impacted by the UCI calling an early halt to Tokyo 2020 qualification in four of its disciplines ©Getty Images

The COVID-19 virus, which has so far killed more than 6,600 people and infected in excess of 174,000 worldwide, has wreaked havoc on the international sports calendar.

Dozens of events, such as World Championships and Olympic qualifiers, have been postponed or cancelled amid travel restrictions and Government bans on competitions involving a certain number of participants.

The UCI has also suspended classification rankings on the international calendar around the world until at least April 3.

"The international situation linked to the coronavirus has accelerated sharply recently, especially in Europe, which has pushed the authorities to take drastic measures that have a major impact on our sport in particular," said UCI President David Lappartient.

"Faced with this unprecedented and changing situation, we must adapt and take necessary measures to guarantee, as far as possible, the security of people at our events as well as sporting equity. 

"With the strong decisions taken concerning the UCI international calendar and the Olympic qualification procedure, we are providing the awaited answers for people in our sport. 

"The challenges we face in light of the current situation require all members of the cycling family and of the Olympic movement to be innovative, strong and united."