Bicycle Network's 2021 Newcrest Orange Challenge has been cancelled due to the COVID situation in New South Wales.
The cycling event was expected to bring more than 2000 visitors to Orange and the Central West on the weekend of September 11 and 12, however ongoing restrictions mean that it will not be possible to run the large public event in NSW in the coming months.
Bicycle Network general manager - marketing and operations Rebecca Lane said it was shattering to call off the event that would have brought joy and excitement to visitors and locals after a tough 18 months.
"We're devastated that coronavirus has again prevented Newcrest Orange Challenge from running for the second year but appreciate we all must prioritise public health at this time. We'll miss bringing this event to life, however the event community's love affair with Orange and the Central West will continue," Ms Lane said.
"This year's ride was shaping up to be our biggest Newcrest Orange Challenge to date. The impact this cancellation will have on our riders, volunteers, team members and the local communities that host us is significant and a tough pill to swallow."
Last year's edition of the Newcrest Orange Challenge, scheduled for March 2020, was cancelled when coronavirus was in its early stages. The ride was rescheduled to September 12, 2021, with existing entries transferred.
Registered riders have the option of a full refund, a partial refund if they still wish to receive a Newcrest Orange Challenge cycling jersey, or the ability to transfer their entry to a Bicycle Network membership and a jersey.
Bicycle Network will also donate $1800 to Rural Aid's Buy a Bale initiative in support of farmers, an organisation Newcrest Orange Challenge has supported since 2019.
Since Newcrest Orange Challenge began in 2016 it has been supported by Newcrest Mining, the NSW Government and Orange City Council.
Cadia's general manager, Aaron Brannigan, said, "Newcrest has been a long-standing supporter of the Orange Challenge and whilst we are disappointed that the event has been postponed, we understand the health and safety of the riders and the local community must be a priority.
"This event provides a significant boost to our region's economy and we are already committed to supporting the event in the future," Aaron said.
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