THE Tour of Britain cycling race, which was due to pass through Falmouth and Penryn in September, has been postponed until next year.

The 2020 event was due to start in Cornwall, running from Penzance to Bodmin.

However, British Cycling, along with the various stage hosts, including Cornwall Council, have decided it would be impossible to manage a safe race this year in light of the current Covid-19 restrictions.

The decision has been made to switch the locations chosen for 2020 to the following year, meaning Cornwall is still scheduled to host the opening leg of the race.

It will be the first time the prestigious event has been seen in Cornwall.

The decision to postpone was taken after the event organisers acknowledged increasing challenges in their ability to manage a safe race in September 2020.

A Tour of Britain spokesperson said: "We pride ourselves on the Tour of Britain being the biggest and most prestigious cycle race in the UK, attracting over 1.5 million spectators to the roadside and inspiring many thousands of people of all ages to get on their bikes and to cycle more.

"Holding the Tour of Britain behind closed doors or with extensive social distancing rules would not only be immensely impractical, but would rob our venues and spectators of these opportunities and go against everything that cycling, as a free-to-spectate and accessible event, stands for."

Local concerns had also been raised over the ability to plan for such a large-scale event during such an uncertain period of time.

Cllr Tim Dwelly, Cornwall Council’s portfolio holder for culture, economy and planning, said: “While it is disappointing to see the race postponed for this year, there really was no choice for the organisers.

“Hosting an event like the Tour of Britain takes a lot of hard work and preparation. The postponement of the race is an understandable development as we are dealing with the effects of a global pandemic.

“I am delighted that the organisers have agreed to simply push the race back for 12 months. Our team has already carried out an immense amount of work for this year’s race, and this will prove essential when it comes to successfully hosting the opening stage next year.

“Having the Tour of Britain in Cornwall offers us a chance to show our wonderful corner of the world off to a global audience, and will provide a much-needed boost for our towns and our tourist industry next year.”

The dates for the 2021 event are from Sunday, September 5, to Sunday, September 12. The existing race arrangements will continue to apply and the route for Cornwall will remain the same, with the start in Penzance and finish in Bodmin.