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Australia’s oldest stage race, the Jayco Herald Sun Tour, won’t run in 2021 due to “the uncertainty and unpredictability caused by the impact of COVID-19”.
While the race wasn’t due to occur until early February next year — more than five months from now — race organisers decided it was better to cancel the event and focus on 2022.
“We have not taken this decision lightly, however the high level of uncertainty created by the current COVID-19 environment in Victoria presents too many challenges to proceed with the 2021 events,” said Jayco Herald Sun Tour chairman Tom Salom.
“We appreciate the support of Visit Victoria and Cycling Australia, who understand the rationale behind our decision and have indicated their continued support for both events, and for the return of the events to the cycling calendar in 2022.”
Salom confirmed that there is a firm commitment to run the race in 2022, highlighting the importance of the race for regional tourism.
“It is critically important for both cycling and regional Victoria that we deliver a high quality Jayco Herald Sun Tour for years to come,” he said.
Raced around provincial Victoria, the Sun Tour is the first of Australia’s 2021 summer races to be affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Victoria is currently in the midst of a second wave of coronavirus cases, with state capital Melbourne under strict, level 4 lockdown. It’s not yet clear whether COVID-19 will affect other summer races held in Victoria — including the Road National Championships and the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race.
Late last week, organisers of the Santos Tour Down Under pledged to hold a 2021 edition of the race, even if it means running the event as a domestic-level race, rather than at WorldTour level. South Australia currently has significantly fewer active cases of coronavirus than Victoria.
As of 2020, the Jayco Herald Sun Tour comprises a five-day UCI 2.1 men’s race and a two-day UCI 2.1 women’s race.