The highly-anticipated mass-participation event Ballarat Cycle Classic will be delayed three weeks in wake of the state government's snap lockdown.
Fiona Elsey Cancer Research Institute and the Classic's organising committee released a statement shortly after noon announcing, with regret, the community event would be postponed to March 14.
The Classic was scheduled to be held this Sunday.
FECRI has attributed the decision to the following factors:
- This week's circuit breaker lockdown has severely disrupted the final event preparations of FECRI's team and suppliers.
- Uncertainty has gravely disrupted fundamental volunteer recruitment and availability.
- Community nervousness for public events this weekend.
A FECRI spokesperson earlier confirmed organisers had contacted the Victorian health department for clarification after Premier Daniel Andrews announced a near-full lift in lockdown restrictions but with extra measures on public events
The Courier understands the health department has been swamped with similar event clarifications.
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Ballarat Cycle Classic is the major annual fundraiser for the homegrown institute, which receives no government funding support.
The Classic features road rides, mountain biking, a pet-friendly walk, family rides, virtual rides and was to launch its first half-marathon event this year.
The half-marathon, and a complementary 16-kilometre run through central Ballarat, already had capped entries at 300 participants and this was largely due to limited road closures.
FECRI had experienced an influx of riders and runners from across the state keen to be part of a sporting event after widespread cancellations last year. The Institute has been making a strong appeal to the Ballarat commuity the past week.
The Classic was one of Ballarat's last major events before lockdowns hit last year.
The event postponement statement also reads:
"More than ever, we need your support and understanding. Cancer doesn't stop, so our research cannot.
"We know our wonderful supporter community will come together on this new date with gusto.
"We thank you for your continued support and enthusiasm for the Ballarat Cycle Classic and its important fundraising for the Fiona Elsey Cancer Research Institute....keep training - you have three bonus weeks to get ready with some resilience and resolve that we didn't know we had in us.
"Let's make the 2021 Ballarat Cycle Classic the biggest yet".
Every cent from Classic registrations supports FECRI's cancer research programs. Entries are also tax deductible.
To register or donate: ballaratcycleclassic.com.au