It seems the Jayco Herald Sun Tour will get its February slot after all, with Cycling Australia filling the Melbourne race’s traditional October position when firming up its National Road Series dates this week. The move means no event will be staged this year; instead it will take place shortly after Adelaide’s Tour Down Under – Australia’s only ProTour race – in early February.
The Sun Tour has been contested in its October slot since 1952, but Cycling Australia will reportedly announce the date change today. The February move has allowed a reshuffle of the National Road Series calendar, with the Tour de Perth, Melbourne-Warrnambool, Grafton-Inverell and Shipwreck Coast Classic all now taking place in October.
The decision comes despite International Cycling Union president Pat McQuaid saying such a move was unlikely while visiting TDU in January. “I don’t want two races fighting for position,” McQuaid told Cyclingnews in January. “It doesn’t make sense that we should end up in a situation where two races are fighting each other because they’d both lose in the end.”
McQuaid held concerns the Sun Tour would have ambitions of attempting to poach Tour Down Under’s ProTour license. Despite McQuaid’s reservations Sun Tour organiser TLSports continued its negotiations with the national federation.
Continental team Drapac-Porsche described the expected date change as a great opportunity. Team manager Sarah Richardson said while either date was fine for the Australian team, it should increase the number of international teams able to contest the event.
“I think it’s a great opportunity seeing you’ve got the Tour Down Under taking place as well, so you’ve got those international teams out in Australia. For Drapac-Porsche the timing isn’t really an issue, we’re quiet flexible.”