Amanda Spratt (Team BikeExchange) is disappointed at the loss of the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race and the Women’s Tour Down Under, both cancelled due to COVID-19 health and quarantine restrictions, but she is confident that they will bounce back and return to the international calendar in 2022.
“It’s disappointing and a lot of it has been out of the hands of everyone, with the fires last year and then the coronavirus this year,” Spratt said from her Team BikeExchange training camp held in Spain last week.
Spratt has opted to stay in Europe this winter and so will also miss the Australian national championships. Australians who travelled home for the winter were obliged to quarantine for 14 days in a hotel on arrival in Australia.
“In 2020 the organisers were still able to produce great races, but this year with COVID, it hasn’t been possible with the travel restrictions.”
The Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, was added to the Women’s WorldTour last year and won by Liane Lippert (Team DSM, then Sunweb). The Women’s preceding Tour Down Under, which held its fifth edition last year, was bumped up to the 2.Pro Series, one step below the top tier of races, and won by Ruth Winder (Trek-Segafredo).
The 2021 Tour Down Under and the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race men’s and women’s events were cancelled after the COVID-19 global pandemic made it difficult for teams to travel to Australia for the January races. The Women’s Tour Down Under was scheduled for January 14-17 and the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race was scheduled for January 30. The men’s and women’s Herald Sun Tour were also postponed until 2022.
The organisers of the Tour Down Under will instead put on a domestic four-day event in Adelaide called the Santos Festival of Cycling held from January 21-24.
Spratt won the inaugural edition of the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race and is a three-time winner of the Women’s Tour Down Under (2017-2019). She’s pleased that there will be a domestic event and is confident that the two world-class races will return in 2022, and she envisions the Women’s Tour Down Under jumping up to the Women’s WorldTour.
“It’s great that they are still having the Santos Festival of Cycling, and that there is an event in Adelaide,” Spratt said.
“I know there is every intention of having the Tour Down Under, as it was, along with the Cadel Evans Road Race [next year]. I can completely envision that we will have those big races again next year. The Women’s Tour Down Under is building and building, and so I wouldn’t be surprised to see it on the WorldTour calendar next year, fingers crossed.”