Jayco Herald Sun Tour 2022 has been canceled

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Less than a day after announcing the cancellations of Cadel’s Tour Down Under 2022 and Great Ocean Road Race, there is darker news for Australian cycling fans. Australia’s oldest stage race – the Jayco Herald Sun Tour – has been canceled for the second year in a row.

The Herald Sun Tour first took place in 1952 and over the decades has withstood changes in the schedule, rises and falls in its UCI ranking, and changes in duration. The uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, however, has again proved too far a bridge for the event’s organizers.

“We are proud of our history as the oldest stage cycling race in the country, but the unpredictability that COVID-19 brings to our event presents too many challenges for us to continue next year. In particular, the quarantine restrictions that come with Covid have made it very difficult to attract the best international runners. “

“We did not take this decision lightly, and our team will continue to explore all possibilities with the goal of resuming racing in 2023.”

Tom Salom, President of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour

The 2022 race is said to have taken place in February, with the men’s peloton entering five stages and the women’s field entering two, with the races largely centered in northeast Victoria. The men’s race reportedly featured two mountain top finishes atop Falls Creek and Mount Buller, before a final stage around the Botanical Gardens in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD.

The Herald Sun Tour has a lower international profile than the WorldTour ranked Tour Down Under and the Cadel’s Race, but the fates of the three events have been linked. Along with the Australian National Championships, the big block of Australian early season races became affectionately known as the “Summer of Cycling”.

Chris Froome was the winner of the 2016 edition of the race.

The Herald Sun Tour has in recent years attracted WorldTour teams, including EF-Education First, a Sky team led by Chris Froome, Sunweb, Trek-Segafredo and the Australian team Mitchelton-Scott. This gave the event a boost and a world-class racing opportunity for the Australian National Road Series teams who made up the majority of the field. Without international teams able to commit to travel to Australia – which effectively closed its international border for the duration of the pandemic – organizers were faced with reduced scope and less prestige.

Although Tour Down Under organizers have indicated plans for a cycling festival at the end of January – a program of events across multiple disciplines and venues that last year included cyclocross, para-cycling, track cycling, mountain biking, BMX and a nationwide road race – the cancellation of the Herald Sun Tour raises questions about the viability of the remaining events in Australia for the start of 2022.

Many of Australia’s top professionals are stranded in Europe and unable to return home due to flight caps, border closures and long quarantine periods. And it’s not just international borders that can present challenges, with several state and territory border closures currently in place across Australia. Those who are in Australia, especially in largely COVID-free states like Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland, currently cannot travel to New South Wales and Victoria, which are battling outbreaks of the Delta variant.

The Australian National Championships are set to be held Jan. 12-16 in Ballarat, Victoria – a date that could be close to announced plans to reunite Australians by Christmas 2020 2021.

Cam Meyer (BikeExchange) scored an emotional victory to defend his national road racing title in 2021.

Australia has weathered the pandemic reasonably well, with a low number of cases and deaths compared to most of the rest of the world. A slow rollout of the vaccine and a series of long lockdowns in the country’s most populous cities, however, made it difficult to return to some form of normalcy.

Relaxation of restrictions is expected with rising vaccination rates – the country is currently around 55% fully vaccinated, but is expected to hit the 80% mark by the end of the year, when international borders are expected to reopen . However, with an uncertain outlook, even planning interstate trips in early 2022, it is perhaps understandable that international cycling teams have felt unable to commit to a block of races halfway around the world. .

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