The Canadian luge team are due to miss the first four World Cup races of the new season ©Getty Images

The Canadian luge team are set to miss the first half of the 2020-2021 World Cup campaign due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new season is scheduled to start on November 24 in Austria, but Luge Canada has decided to skip the first four races.

A statement from Luge Canada revealed "international travel risks associated with COVID-19" would keep the country’s top luge athletes training on home ice for the next two months.

The team is expected to travel to Europe on December 20 for the second half of the season.

And Sam Edney, high performance director of Luge Canada, is "confident" the team will emerge "stronger" from this "very difficult situation" ahead of the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, scheduled to take place in Beijing in China in February 2022.

"Over the past few weeks we have weighed all of our options and risks that may arise while travelling with this team of athletes throughout Europe," said Edney.

"Our number one priority is always the safety of all our athletes and staff.

"These athletes are a young group and obviously quarantine restrictions complicates things for us in bringing them home for the holiday break so we felt the safest thing to do is to stay home and train on one of the top tracks in the world in our own backyard."

The Canadian luge team are set to return to World Cup action in the new year ©Getty Images
The Canadian luge team are set to return to World Cup action in the new year ©Getty Images

The team are due to begin training at the Whistler Sliding Centre on October 16 before re-joining the World Cup circuit in Konigssee in Germany at the start of 2021.

January will also see Canadian athletes put World Cup race bibs on in Oberhof in Germany and Igls in Austria before competing in the World Championships in Konigssee.

Luge Canada also plans to take part in the Olympic test event near Beijing from February 4 to 21.

"Ideally we want to be competing against the world’s best athletes, but with such a young team we believe we can capitalise on this very difficult situation for everyone by continuing to focus on our development while centralising in Whistler," added Edney.

"I believe we all have a role to play to keep our sport and Canada going.

"That said, there is no quit in high-performance sport so we will continue to navigate through the changes to our daily training and competitive environments.

"I am confident this group will actually come out of this stronger and more prepared together to shine at the 2021 World Championships, which is a critical measuring stick of where we are at on the journey to the Beijing Games."