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Australian Cyclo-cross Championships delayed by COVID-19 lockdown

Cyclocross: 50th Otegem 2018
Illustration / Mud
/ © Tim De Waele
A mud loaded cyclo-cross course (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

After Australia's Cyclo-cross Championships was cancelled in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the nation will now have to wait even longer to crown a new national champion in the discipline. 

The title deciding races, which were scheduled for August 21, have been postponed amid continuing lockdowns in the state of Victoria and beyond to try and prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The AusCycling National Cyclo-cross Championship – which was due to be held in Broadford at a motorcycle racing track to the north of Victoria’s capital of Melbourne – have been rescheduled for October 17. 

The Australian champion is usually one of the first crowned at the start of every new international cyclo-cross season. Being in the southern hemisphere, August is the last month of winter and the contest for the national title unfolds as the Australian season is drawing toward its end.

“Due to the recent Victorian lockdown, the Championships will now be conducted on October 17 and will have a new location in Victoria," said AusCycling in a statement this week. 

"AusCycling thank Sunbury Cycling Club for their work on the Championships to this point - the Championships have been moved due to limited date availability at the Broadford track for the remainder of 2021” 

“The new venue will be set over the next two weeks.”

Case numbers of COVID-19 continue to be low by international standards across Australia however lockdowns in some locations, limits on the number of people allowed to gather, interstate border restrictions, quarantine requirements and rapidly changing circumstances in response to outbreaks, have all hampered the ability of many cycling events to run. The winter sport of cyclo-cross has been one of the most heavily impacted.

In Cyclo-cross not only has the National Championships been cancelled one year and postponed the next but local events in those locations more heavily hit by recurring restrictions have also been cancelled and postponed. 

The national series has also struggled, with only the initially scheduled weekend of competition in South Australia so far having gone ahead in 2021. The building C2 classified Melbourne Grand Prix of Cyclocross, the nation’s only international cyclo-cross event, was also cancelled in 2020 and wasn’t on the calendar this year.

The last time the Australian Cyclo-cross National Championships was run Chris Jongewaard claimed a fifth national title while Peta Mullens took a second in the heavy mud of the course on the grounds of a winery in Victoria’s King Valley.

New Zealand, however, is set to go-ahead with its Cyclo-Cross National Championships on Sunday August 15, which will also include the crowning of its first ever Junior women’s national champion. The event is the first listed on the UCI cyclo-cross calendar for this season.

The first cyclo-cross World Cup rounds of the 2021-2022 season are scheduled for October, taking the event beyond Europe this season with three events in the United States.