• Amanda Spratt celebrates another Santos Women's Tour Down Under overall victory. (Getty)Source: Getty
A multi-discipline cycling event, the Santos Festival of Cycling, will replace the Tour Down Under for 2021.
SBS Cycling Central

8 Dec 2020 - 8:39 AM 

The 2021 Tour Down Under was cancelled in November due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The event was called off due to the problems involved with taking into account the need for avoiding coronavirus infections within South Australia, balanced with the needs of teams and athletes coming from overseas. 

“We have worked with our stakeholders, SA Health and SA Police to create a successful strategy to bring the international event to South Australia. However, the complexities and risks involved with quarantining and international border closures have ultimately proved too much to ask of some of the teams, who have endured a stressful, challenging and compressed 2020 season that will run later than normal, ” said the Executive Director of Events South Australia Hitaf Rasheed.

“Accordingly, the Santos Tour Down Under with international races will not run in 2021 but we assure everyone it will return to South Australia and the start of the UCI’s world cycling calendars in January 2022, with the full support of the UCI.”

The women's edition of the race was due to start on January 14, with the men's edition commencing five days later.

The new event will run from January 19th to the 24th, with a track event to open proceedings, with a four-day men's and women's National Road Series Tour to start the following day. 

There will also be BMX, mountain bike, cyclocross and paracycling events on the schedule, with details yet to be released at this stage.

The inclusion of other cycling disciplines of Cyclo-Cross, BMX, Track, Paracycling and Mountain Biking is the main new addition to the festival, which under the Tour Down Under banner had mostly been focused around road cycling. With the event being organised in collaboration with the newly formed national cycling body, AusCycling, the Festival of Cycling will act as a test case for the new organisation and its capacity to facilitate mixed discipline events. 

South Australian Premier Steven Marshall said that he is thrilled that South Australia can deliver an event program to start the 2021 cycling season.

“South Australia has a strong track record in delivering world-class events, which create jobs and deliver substantial economic benefit to the state," said Premier Marshall. "To be able to pivot, innovate, and deliver a high calibre event, in a new COVID-normal environment, for all Australians to enjoy is particularly exciting.”