MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The Tour Down Under and the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race have been canceled for 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The international cycling union events in Adelaide, South Australia, and Geelong, Victoria state, are usually staged in January over the southern summer.
“We’re devastated we won’t be opening the UCI WorldTour one day racing season in January,” Cadel Evans, Australia’s only Tour de France winner, said. “But this decision has been made by putting the health and safety of our riders, event partners, spectators, workforce, volunteers and broader community first.”
The Tour Down Under, Australia’s first WorldTour race, was due to be staged from Jan. 19-24, a week before the Cadel Evans elite one-day races.
“We have done all we can to consider how we can deliver it, but unfortunately in the end it was the international component, with over 400 people that make up the international teams, that proved to be the most difficult to overcome,” Events South Australia executive director Hitaf Rasheed said in a statement announcing the Tour Down Under cancellation.
Rasheed said organizers had worked with government, health and police officials but, “the complexities and risks involved with quarantining and international border closures have ultimately proved too much to ask of some of the teams, who have endured a stressful, challenging and compressed 2020 season that will run later than normal.”
Australia closed its international borders in March and some domestic state borders also remain closed because of a second wave of coronavirus infections in Victoria that sent the state back into lockdown.
On Sunday, Australia recorded no new locally transmitted coronavirus infection for the first time in five months.
Some international sports events are resuming, with Australia hosting the Tri-Nations rugby tournament involving New Zealand and Argentina and India set to tour for a cricket series starting next month
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