New Zealand’s decision this past week to enact the highest level of Covid restrictions amid an outbreak of the Omicron variant has forced cycling events across the nation to cancel or postpone until autumn.
Milford Mountain Classic gran fondo scheduled 19 February 2022 has been cancelled and will not be rescheduled this year. “It is with extreme regret that we announce the cancellation of the 2022 Milford Mountain…due to the nationwide change in traffic light status to Red. We had hoped to be able, but our number one priority is for the safety and well-being of our participants, staff, volunteers and the community.”
The 43 year-old Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge, also planned on 19 February for over 5000 cyclists, has been postponed until Saturday 26 November 2022. “With the continued Covid 19 environment, and with recent announcements and with recent announcements that New Zealand is now in a Red Traffic Light as part of the Covid-19 Protection Framework, making it clear that large scale events will not be able to proceed in red, combined with no clear direction as to when we will come out of red, the team at BDO Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge have made the tough decision to cancel its planned 19 February 2022 event.”
K2 Cycle Classic 20th Edition has also been postponed until 2023. Billed as The Toughest One Day Cycle Challenge in New Zealand, the event was scheduled to take place on 12 March. “Unfortunately, the high level of uncertainty around public gatherings has severely impacted on K1/2 entries, which are currently down by some 70%. The potential for an outbreak of Omicron in the country and a move to the ‘red light’ status would make the race impossible, and so we have made the difficult decision to postpone this year’s K2.”
Le Race, modeled after the L’Etape by Tour de France series, scheduled 19 March has been postponed and the organiser is keeping their fingers crossed that the event will take place 18 March 2023. “We have gone back and forward and tried to make it work but given the uncertainty at this time, plus the added complications and risks that come with Omicron we feel it is in the best interest for all involved to cancel. We are absolutely gutted to have to make this call after all the hard work and training people have put in, but the health of our crew and event participants (and their supporters) comes above all else.”
Under New Zealand’s “Traffic Light” system, events in a “Red” region can only take place for 1) 100 people or less AND 2) All attendees older than 12years (participants, crew, sponsors, supporters, spectators, etc.) must have up-to-date Covid-19 Vaccinations (i.e. boosted) and show a valid Vaccine Pass.
The New Zealand Gran Fondo scheduled12 February is planning to go forward with severe restrictions and program changes including staggered start “safe bubbles” of 100 riders (including car parking), no spectators, no race village and no food or drink.