Tour Down Under 2022 canned due to COVID-19 requirements

Tour Down Under 2022 canned due to COVID-19 requirements

The Tour Down Under has been scrapped for a second consecutive year due to border closures and associated quarantine requirements for international teams.

Known as one of Australia's top cycling events and a destination race for riders around the world, the Tour Down Under has frequented the Fleurieu for a number of years, with stage finishes in Victor Harbor and the King of the Mountain at Willunga.

People come from all over the country - and world - to see elite cyclists compete in the tour.

Events South Australia executive director Hitaf Rasheed said COVID-19-related rules ultimately made it "too difficult" to run the Tour Down Under in its usual capacity.

"The Santos Tour Down Under is a much-loved event on the world cycling and Australian sporting calendar and an important economic driver for South Australia, attracting 44,000 people, injecting 742 jobs and more than $66 million into the economy when last held in 2020," he said.

"We have fully explored all avenues, but unfortunately in the end it was the border closures and quarantine requirements for more than 400 people that make up the international teams that proved to still be too difficult to overcome."

As per last year, the Santos Festival of Cycling will run in place of the Tour Down Under, giving the best of Australian cycling the chance to return to South Australia for an action-packed nine-day event.

Last year, the Festival of Cycling included a stage from McLaren Vale to Willunga Hill, and there was a chance for members of the public to pit themselves against Richie Porte's time in the King of the Mountain track at Willunga Hill.

City of Victor Harbor chief executive officer Victoria MacKirdy said the district always benefited from having the Tour Down Under come through, and hoped the district would again play host when it returns in 2023.

"When hosted in Victor Harbor, the Tour Down Under provides great economic benefits to our region and a unique experience for our community," she said.

She said the Santos Festival of Cycling program and race routes were still being determined and was confident it would "still deliver a great experience for cycling fans", and looked forward to other sporting events to be held in the district.

"There are a range of exciting sporting events currently being planned for our region in 2022, including the Victor Triathlon and the Coast to Coast Bike Ride," she said.

Photo by Belinda Stevens.

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