The February 2021 editions of the men's Jayco Herald Sun Tour (opens in new tab) and the Women's Herald Sun Tour (opens in new tab) have both been postponed until 2022 due to the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic. The Australian state of Victoria – where the events take place – has been particularly badly affected by a second wave of COVID-19, with the death toll now having reached 376.
Jayco Herald Sun Tour Chairman Tom Salom announced in a press release on Friday that the decision to postpone the races had been difficult.
"As Australia's oldest cycling stage race, we have not taken this decision lightly," Salom said. "However, the high level of uncertainty created by the current COVID-19 environment in Victoria presents too many challenges to proceed with the 2021 events.
"We appreciate the support of Visit Victoria and Cycling Australia, who understand the rationale behind our decision and have indicated their continued support for both events, and for the return of the events to the cycling calendar in 2022.
Kennedy takes overall Women's Herald Sun Tour title after thrilling finale (opens in new tab)
Hindley sews up Herald Sun Tour title as Groves takes final stage (opens in new tab)
Tour Down Under 2021 confirmed for January 14-24 (opens in new tab)
"It is critically important for both cycling and regional Victoria that we deliver a high quality Jayco Herald Sun Tour for years to come.
"We thank all sponsors, teams, riders, officials and fans for their loyal and ongoing support of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour and Women's Herald Sun Tour, and we look forward to returning in 2022."
Race sponsor Jayco's owner, Gerry Ryan – who also owns the men's and women's Mitchelton-Scott WorldTour squads – agreed that while the decision to postpone the race was unfortunate, the event would soon return.
"It's certainly disappointing for everyone involved; the riders, the officials and the public," Ryan said. "We look forward to coming back bigger, better and stronger in 2022."
Lucy Kennedy (Mitchelton-Scott) defended her title to win the 2020 Women's Herald Sun Tour (opens in new tab) in February, ahead of Jaime Gunning (Specialized Women's Racing) and Astana's Arlenis Sierra, while Sunweb's Jai Hindley came out on top in the men's event (opens in new tab), beating St George Continental's Sebastian Berwick – who recently signed for the Israel Start-Up Nation (opens in new tab) WorldTour outfit – and Mitchelton-Scott's Damien Howson.
As things currently stand, men's UCI WorldTour stage race the Santos Tour Down Under and the UCI ProSeries-level Santos Women's Tour Down Under are both still set to take place in January 2021 (opens in new tab) – from January 19-24 and January 14-17, respectively.
The state of South Australia, where the Tour Down Under takes place, has been less adversely affected by COVID-19 compared to Victoria, with four deaths having been recorded since the start of the year.
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