Organisers have confirmed the postponement of the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge until 2021 due to the uncertainty for mass-participation events caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge has been billed as New Zealand’s largest cycling event, with around 7,000 riders from across New Zealand and more than 20 other countries taking part each year.
The cycling event features 11 categories, with amateur and elite races taking place.
Commonwealth Games silver medallist Racquel Sheath and two-time Olympic rowing champion Hamish Bond are among past winners of the elite races.
This year’s event was scheduled to take place on the weekend of November 14.
Organisers said they were "hugely disappointed" to postpone the event, but believed the decision was correct with eight weeks to go and uncertainty over mass-participation rides in the coming months.
"We had to aim for the best possible outcome for our participants, volunteers, staff, sponsors, suppliers and stakeholders, keeping in mind health and safety is always paramount for our event," said Kay Brake, Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge Trust chairperson.
"Making this decision now gives certainty and means we are in a position to offer the best solution to our entrants this year and to roll out a quality event experience next year."
The decision to postpone the event was reportedly made after close consultation with key event partners, as well as other affected parties including the local council and community stakeholders.
With people travelling from across New Zealand, organisers said they were only able to hold the event if the country were in COVID-19 level 1, which cannot be guaranteed at this point in time.
Consideration was also given to the financial risk of continuing to plan for an event which may not be able to take place.
The 44th edition of the event has been rescheduled to November 27 in 2021.
"We are all devastated about this decision, but we know it is the right decision to protect the integrity and reputation of the BDO Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge for years to come," event director Debbie Chambers said.
"We have seen an increase in the numbers of cyclists getting out on their bikes recently and have confidence that this event will come back bigger and better than ever in 2021.
"We want to say a huge thank you to all those participants, key stakeholders and suppliers who have backed us this year and we hope to see you all back at the event on November 27 2021."
All current entrants for 2020 have been contacted by email with options regarding the event's postponement.