The Vuelta a San Juan has been cancelled due to coronavirus.
A number of WorldTour teams had planned to start their seasons in San Juan, while Chris Froome was also due to make his debut in Israel Start-Up Nation colours.
Argentina’s biggest stage race has now been abandoned due to the spread of the virus, as coronavirus cases hit 13,000 new infections a day.
San Juan governor Sergio Unac said: “We have made a decision to cancel the 39th and 4th international editions of the Vuelta a San Juan.
“Nor will there be an edition with national or provincial teams.”
Initially, four WorldTour teams had intended to race in San Juan from January 24 to 31 with some start riders making the trip across, including Froome, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers).
But due to the pandemic the WorldTour teams withdrew from the race, with rumours then circulating that the race may be held with only domestic teams participating.
The race has now been cancelled, which means the Saudi Tour is the next big stage race still scheduled to run on February 2.
A statement from the organisers said: “The decision responds to the facts of public and well-known knowledge, and the recommendations of national and international organisations with reference to the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
“San Juan will continue working with the same passion and spirit for the growth of the sport and of this Argentine classic that will seek in the coming years to maintain its international character in which the world’s cyclists will continue to shine in our land, when this health situation has been overcome.”
The Vuelta a San Juan has been growing in prestige in recent seasons as WorldTour teams have kickstarted their seasons in South America.
Last year’s race was won by Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s Remco Evenepoel, the first of a string of stage race victories for the Belgian in 2020.