Jayco Herald Sun Tour canceled for third straight year
The Jayco Herald Sun Tour, Australia’s oldest stage race, has been canceled for the third consecutive year. The 2023 edition of the race through regional Victoria will not run “due to ongoing logistics, planning, scheduling and manpower issues”.
In a statement to CyclingTips, race organizers explained that they had “worked diligently behind the scenes to try to make the event possible next year” but that, after careful consideration, “there are now real occupational health and safety concerns for runners and staff” which ultimately forced both men’s and women’s races to be suspended.
It’s unclear what these “occupational health and safety concerns” are, but CyclingTips has requested additional information from race organizers.
“It has not been an easy decision, nor an easy process to get to this point, and as guardians of this historic race, we are disappointed that it will not take place in 2023,” said Tom Salom, president of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour. “We thank the [Victorian state] government and industry stakeholders for their collective efforts, and we are keenly aware of the importance of this event as a statewide event.
The Sun Tour was last held in 2020 when Jai Hindley, now a Giro d’Italia winner, won the men’s event, and Lucy Kennedy won her second consecutive edition of the women’s race. The The Sun Tour 2021 has been canceled due to “uncertainty and unpredictability caused by the impact of COVID-19”.
It was planned to bring the race back in 2022, but again the ripple effects of COVID turned out to be an obstacle. “The unpredictability that COVID-19 brings to our event presents too many challenges for us to continue next year,” Salom said in September 2021. “In particular, the quarantine restrictions that come with COVID have made it very difficult to ‘attract the best international runners.
Again, the hope was for the race to return in 2023, but those plans were scrapped as well.
CyclingTips understands that the contract to organize the Sun Tour, held by GTR Events for the past few years, expired during the pandemic and has not been renewed.
The Sun Tour was held annually from its first edition in 1952 until 2009, but has been held less regularly since. The 2010 race did not take place due to a clash with that year’s World Road Championships in Geelong and the 2012 edition did not take place either, as the organizers worked to move the race from its traditional time slot of October to February. The race returned in 2013 but was only a national level event, before returning to the international calendar in 2014.
The Sun Tour has been run every year from 2013 to 2020, with international stars like Chris Froome, Esteban Chaves and Dylan van Baarle taking overall victories, but hasn’t taken place since 2020. Race organizers hope the event will return in 2024. “Our attention will now turn to the future and planning for the 2024 edition of Australia’s oldest stage race, which proudly counts Olympians and Grand Tour winners among its honor roll,” Salom said.
In other Australian summer of racing news, Race Torquay, the women’s and men’s one-day race held in the days leading up to the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, also doesn’t appear to have survived the coronavirus pandemic. COVID. The only edition of the race was in 2020 (with Brodie Chapman and Sam Bennett taking victories) but after being canceled alongside Cadel’s Race in 2021 and 2022 due to the pandemic, Race Torquay did not return.
There is, however, more positive news to be found elsewhere on the Australian summer racing calendar. After two years as the national Santos Festival of Cycling, the Tour Down Under returns in 2023. For the first time ever, the women’s event will join the men’s TDU as a WorldTour level event. Cadel’s Race, too, returns after a two-year absence.