The ongoing uncertainty around Australia’s international border closure has forced the organisers of The Tour Down Under in South Australia to cancel next year’s event.
Scheduled to go ahead in January, the difficulty in getting international cyclists into the country proved too much for organisers, who have opted for a smaller domestic event instead.
“I believe that for one year we can put delivering an international event aside, and keep our South Australian heart beating by delivering a new, re-imagined event for cyclists and for communities across the nation,” Tour Down Under race director Stuart O’Grady told ABC Radio Adelaide.
“This event isn’t going anywhere, the teams love it. It is one of the best races in the world and it’s something that’s certainly not going away, it’s just on pause.”
Events South Australia executive director Hitaf Rasheed said they had looked at every option before making their decision.
“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,” he said.
“However, 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.”
Rasheed said it will return to South Australia in January 2022.
The announcement is another blow for South Australia’s major events calendar with the Adelaide 500 Supercars race cancelled last week.
Premier Steven Marshall told ABC Radio Adelaide that the focus would now be on smaller events, saying the “days of having events with 200,000 people at them are completely and utterly over… I think they are over for the foreseeable future.”
The Women’s Tour Down Under has also been shelved, while the organisers of Victoria’s Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race confirmed the event in January would also be cancelled.