Speculation Tour Down Under and Cadel Evans races could hold events ahead of September Worlds

WILLUNGA HILL AUSTRALIA JANUARY 26 Willunga Hill 374m Fans Public Peloton Australia Flag during the 22nd Santos Tour Down Under 2020 Stage 6 a 1515km stage from McLaren Vale to Willunga Hill 374m TDU tourdownunder UCIWT on January 26 2020 in Willunga Hill Australia Photo by Daniel KaliszGetty Images
The peloton during the 2020 Tour Down Under (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

The organisers of the Tour Down Under and Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race have neither confirmed nor denied that plans are being discussed to hold a special edition of their races in September 2022 before the UCI Road World Championships in Wollongong.

Both races have been pulled from the early season 2022 international calendar due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the World Championships in Australia could create an opportunity for new events.  

Louis Cousaert, the Eurométropole Tour race organiser, recently told Belgian newspaper La DH Les Sports that he had heard ‘noises’ about the Australian races being held in September. 

The addition of races in Australia before the World Championships and the need to travel to the country somewhat earlier could spark a race date reshuffle in September. It could affect the Eurométropole Tour, the Benelux Tour, the Tour of Britain, the Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec and the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal in Canada, and a number of one-day races in Europe. 

The 2022 Vuelta a España is scheduled for August 19-September 11, with the other races fighting to offer an alternative race calendar for the late summer.  

The 2022 World Championships are scheduled for September 18-25, with riders set to need at least a week in Australia beforehand in order to overcome travel and jet lag. Extra races in Australia could help riders acclimatize, stay race fit, and help share the costs of travel to Australia and for accommodation.

The prospective rescheduled races would also help put the Tour Down Under and the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race back on the map of international sporting events following the COVID-19 pandemic.       

The Tour Down Under is traditionally the first international UCI race of the year with its men’s WorldTour stage race and women’s 2.Pro ranked Tour. In lieu of their cancelled international event, organisers committed to going ahead with a domestic cycling festival from January 21 to 29 in 2022, including four days of National Road Series racing for the men and women. 

The Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race in Victoria – which organises both a WorldTour and Women's WorldTour one-day race – has cancelled the early season races but said at the time of the announcement that it was “currently exploring opportunities to hold an international cycling event later in 2022”.

The media contact for the race from the state’s tourism and events group Visit Victoria told Cyclingnews that there was no further statement at this point.

On Monday, the Tour Down Under did not confirm or deny whether holding some kind of race in September was an option being contemplated. 

When asked whether the organisation was contemplating running the Tour Down Under international event later in 2022 around the World Championships in Wollongong, they responded with a comment looking to January 2023.

“Australia’s cycling community meets in South Australia each January and the Santos Tour Down Under is committed to return as the first race on the UCI road cycling calendar in 2023,” the South Australian Tourism Commission told Cyclingnews

“We look forward to seeing everyone here.” 

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