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The Lexus of Blackburn Bay Crits, which serve as the curtain-raiser of the Australian summer of cycling, are the latest cycling event to fall prey to COVID-19.
The race series, scheduled for the opening weekend in January, normally attracts a mix of domestic and international talent to Australia as riders prepare for the National Championships, Cadel’s Great Ocean Road Race, the Tour Down Under and the Herald Sun Tour.
With the news in late November that the Tour Down Under would not take place in its usual format, there was a flow-on effect causing the cancellation of Cadel’s Race as well. The National Championships, meanwhile, have been rescheduled to early February, while the Herald Sun Tour was the first of the races to fall, cancelled due to ongoing coronavirus uncertainty way back in August.
Although Bay Crit organisers were hopeful of being able to conduct the races, with CyclingTips being told in early November that they would take place, that has since changed with restrictions making the event unfeasible.
The event organisers have therefore made the decision to sit the year out, and return stronger in 2022.
“As organisers, we have always put rider and public safety first and in the end missing one year is not as important as ensuring the long term viability of the event, which attracts thousands of fans to the courses each year,” race organiser John Trevorrow said.
“I thank everyone, all our sponsors and stakeholders, who worked so hard in a bid to make it happen – and now we have a chance to re-load and launch back into the cycling calendar in 2022.”
The Bay Crits have been held almost every year since 1989, and have been a launching pad for many of Australia’s most talented riders. Past winners include Caleb Ewan, Robbie McEwen and Chloe Hosking.