Reigning Tour Down Under champion Richie Porte said it was a disappointing but sensible decision to cancel this summer's race.
The 35-year-old Tasmanian has enjoyed a long history with his home country's World Tour opener, claiming two wins plus eight stages, and had been looking forward to repaying the fans who cheered him onto this year's Tour de France podium.
But when organisers announced this summer's race would not go ahead, Porte said: "I think it is the right call."
He added: "Australia has done such a good job in combating the virus in comparison to the rest of the world and hopefully it is only for one year.
"It's disappointing as defending champion and with the amount of support I've had this year. Australian cycling fans are so hardcore and willing to stay up all hours, so it would have been nice to be able to come back and thank them for that."
Speaking from his home in the COVID-19 bubble of Monaco where he is trying to get his family to the relative safety of Australia, Porte sympathised with the event organisers including race director Stuart O'Grady.
"It's nice that the first World Tour race of the year always provides an excuse to come back to Australia," he said.
With nearby France back in a coronavirus lockdown and the terrorist attacks in Nice just 20 kilometres away, Porte and his English wife, Gemma, have been desperately trying to get back to Tasmania with two-and-a-half-year-old son, Luca, and baby Eloise, two months.
Born in Monaco while her father was riding the Tour de France, Eloise is eligible for British and Australian citizenship but the expected eight-week wait for a British passport is likely to take the family to mid-December.
It's disappointing as defending champion and with the amount of support I've had this year.Richie Porte
They are trying to get to Launceston where Ian and Penny Porte have so far only seen their youngest grandchild on Facetime.
"Obviously we want her to meet the family," Porte said.
"We've been looking into it for a few weeks and would love to be in Tasmania for Christmas and New Year.
"Hopefully, when we get the passport we can fly out and will do two weeks quarantine at our port of entry into Australia."
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TDU organisers said the risks involved with more than 400 people on the international teams were too excessive. "Of course I am disappointed," O'Grady said.
"But given the challenges, our priority needs to be the health and safety of South Australians, our communities, and the international cycling fraternity. I believe that for one year we can put delivering an international event aside."