The L’Étape Australia cycling event, based in Kiama, has been postponed from 27-28 November 2020 to 19-20 March 2021, due to the escalation of the COVID-19 situation in Australia and ongoing restrictions on public gatherings to limit the spread of the virus.
This means Kiama will host two of the Tour de France events in 2021, with the second one being held in December.
Florent Malézieux, L’Étape Australia Race Director, says, “It is never an easy decision to make to postpone an event, but safety has always been paramount to us.
“As event organisers, we are also community members and we would like to thank all the front-line workers and the Government agencies who are working tirelessly to bring the pandemic under control.”
The Kiama event is looking set to be the biggest ever.
“The numbers were really good, with 3300 riders registered already, making it the second biggest event we’ve held in Australia even at this early stage,” says Mr Malézieux.
“Based on projections we are well on track to reach 6000 riders.
“It was important for us to make an early announcement so that people could rebook their accommodation, and the beds could be made available for other visitors this November.
“The initial idea was wait until the current health orders are renewed in September, but it appeared very unlikely we could go ahead and we knew it would be unviable for us with restrictions on crowd numbers.”
The event is set to be a considerable economic boost for Kiama, the Shoalhaven and the Southern Highlands, needed after the downturn.
In its former home of Jindabyne, with just 3000 riders, the event is estimated to have generated $2.5 million fothe local economy.
Mr Malézieux says the decision was made just before the landslide closed Jamberoo Mountain Road, which is on the Race route.
“It is all for the best now, as Council will have more time to repair the road.”
The event location, the routes and timings will remain the same for the March event. Riders already registered for the event are being automatically transferred to the new date. They can also request to transfer their registration to December 2021 or get a refund.