Australia’s oldest stage race, the Jayco Herald Sun Tour, has been cancelled for the third year in a row and will not run in 2023.
Both the men’s and women’s editions of the race, originally scheduled to take place in February, were previously postponed in 2021 and 2022 due to Covid-19, with the race organisers now citing logistical, planning and workforce issues.
“This has not been an easy decision or an easy process to arrive at this point,” said Jayco Herald Sun Tour chair Tom Salom in a statement. “As custodians of this historic race we are disappointed that it will not be proceeding in 2023.
“We thank the government and industry stakeholders for their collective efforts and we are acutely aware of the importance of this as an event across the state.”
In a statement shared with CyclingTips, the race organisers also referred to “genuine health and work safety issues for riders and staff” in their rationale for cancelling the 2023 event.
No further clarification as to what the issues were was offered. However, the race organisers' job has not been made any easier by widespread flooding that has affected large parts of southeastern Australia in recent weeks. There are currently emergency flood warnings across the state of Victoria, where the Jayco Herald Sun Tour is held, and a number of towns have already been evacuated.
The floods have also ripped apart roads in the region, with some major highways now impassable.
Organisers of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour have said they will turn to planning the 2024 edition of the race, when they hope it will return to Australia’s summer cycling calendar.
First run in 1952, the last winner of the five-stage men’s event was Jai Hindley, the now reigning Giro d’Italia champion, who claimed victory in 2020. Former Australian rider Lucy Kennedy won the two-day women’s race the same year.
Other previous winners include Simon Gerrans, Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins.
Though the Jayco Herald Sun Tour continues to leave a hole in the country’s racing calendar, 2023 will see the return of the Tour Down Under, the opening WorldTour race of the season. Another event that was shelved due to Covid-19 was the one-day Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, which will also be reinstated next year.
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