The Herald Sun Tour 2021 has been cancelled, the organisers have announced.
Taking place over five stages for the men’s race and two stages for the women’s edition around Melbourne, the Sun Tour is a popular race for riders starting their season early in Australia in February.
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But the organisers of the race have announced the 2021 edition will not go ahead because of the uncertainty caused by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
A statement from the organiser said: “Australia’s oldest stage race, the Jayco Herald Sun Tour and Women’s Herald Sun Tour will not proceed in 2021, and will instead be postponed to early 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.”
The Sun Tour was scheduled to run in 2021 in February and is traditionally held a week after the first WorldTour race of the year, the Tour Down Under.
First run in 1952, the Sun Tour has hosted plenty of cycling stars and has been won by some of the biggest names in the sport, including Sir Bradley Wiggins who took victory in 2009, Chris Froome in 2016 and Esteban Chaves in 2018.
Brits have traditionally had a lot of success in the event, including in the 2019 edition when Dan McLay won the opening stage and became the first British rider to win that year, while Owain Doull then took his first professional victory later in the race.
The cancellation of next year’s race is the first time coronavirus has impacted the 2021 calendar, after the 2020 season was completely upended by the global pandemic.
In March, the UCI suspended all racing as the virus spread around the world and the governing body was then forced to redesign the racing schedule.
Most major events have been slotted into a four month period from August to November, with the Tour de France scheduled to start on August 29.