The organisers of Amy’s Gran Fondo have cancelled the event for 2021. This event is one of Australia’s most popular mass participation cycling events, with the unique opportunity to ride along a fully closed Great Ocean Road. The event attracts thousands of participants, together with their friends and families. For 10 years, the event has brought visitors to the region, and helped to showcase the attractions, with many of the participants returning with friends and family to enjoy what is on offer at a more leisurely pace.
The organisers and Surf Coast Shire, sought input from members of the Lorne community in making the decision. General sentiment was that there has been enough disruption to normal life in 2020/21. The community has stayed relatively safe to date during the pandemic and there was concern about the risks associated with a large number of visitors arriving in town. It was felt those risks outweighed the significant economic benefits that Lorne receives by hosting this annual event.
Kane Osler and Jordan O’Neill, representatives of O2 Events, the event organisers, made the following statement:
“It is with tremendous disappointment that we advise that Amy’s Great Ocean Road Gran Fondo will not proceed on October 24th, 2021. This is the second year in a row we have been unable to deliver the 10th anniversary of the Gran Fondo, having also cancelled the 2020 event due to the extended lockdown at that time.
“Our decision is being made with the Lorne community in mind as well as the health and safety of our participants, staff and volunteers. With the current uncertainty around the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges of conducting a large, mass-participation cycling event in the current environment, the event is unable to proceed in 2021.
We sought feedback from all our stakeholders in making this tough decision, including the Lorne community, who have been such strong supporters of this event since it was first held in 2011.
The 2021 event was on track to achieve a record field of 5,000 cyclists, and we were really looking forward to welcoming these riders, together with their supporting friends and family, to Lorne and the surrounding region this October. However, we felt that even if the event were able to proceed under restrictions at the time, the impacts of the road closures would not be appropriate or fair to the community after such a disruptive period.
Over the past 10 years, Amy’s Gran Fondo has provided a platform for the Amy Gillett Foundation to bring about positive change on our roads, aimed at creating a safer environment for all road users. Most recently, the Foundation achieved its long-standing goal of legislative change in every state and territory through its “A Metre Matters” campaign – the minimum passing distance rules of one metre (or 1.5 metres in speed zones over 60km per hour) makes it much safe and easier for cyclists and drivers to share the road.
Dan Kneipp, CEO of the Amy Gillett Foundation, explained “The fundraising through Amy’s Gran Fondo has assisted the “A Metre Matters” campaign which helped achieve this legislation in all States and Territories of Australia”.
The Gran Fondo will return in 2022 to its traditional position in the cycling calendar, on the second Sunday in September; Sunday 11th September 2022. O2 Events and the Amy Gillet Foundation look forward to working with the Lorne community in the future to again stage Australia’s most spectacular Gran Fondo course and continue to raise much needed funds for the Amy Gillett Foundation’s safe cycling programs.
Dan Kneipp went on to say, “Amy’s Gran Fondo is regarded as one of the best cycling events in the world. It is not only one of the most beautiful locations in Australia, but the friendly hospitality of the Lorne and Surf Coast Shire communities are one of the reasons that it has such high participation. We’re extremely disappointed to not be hosting it in 2021 but hope that we can bring more families and cycling tourists back to the region next year”.
Riders who had already registered for this year’s event have been offered the opportunity to roll their entry over to 2022. The teams at both the Amy Gillett Foundation and O2 Events look forward to returning in 2022, and once again working with the Lorne community to host another successful Amy’s Great Ocean Road Gran Fondo.”