Ballarat's national cycling courses revamped

TITLE contenders Matt Goss and Amanda Spratt have given major changes to 2013 Cycling Australia Road National Championships courses in Ballarat a tick of approval.

Goss and Spratt are particularly impressed with the revamped road race.

A 27.7km flat loop has been added to the Buninyong-based event to ease the impact of the climb and extend the race to 200 kilometres.

Despite criticism of the course by non-climbers in the past few years, Goss – one of the world’s best road sprinters – and Spratt were among the better performers on it.

Goss finished second in 2011, while Spratt is the reigning elite women’s road race champion.

Goss believes stretching the road race by more than 30km will best suit European-based riders, who regularly contest events over that distance.

He said while the first 60-70km – three laps of the new loop – would provide an easier start than in the past, competitors would still have to go over the climb 11 times.

Spratt said the change would create the opportunity for more riders to get more involved in the race, and for the climbers and sprinters to use their strengths.

Goss and Spratt said it was great to see all championship races freshened up.

Race director Sean Muir said starting the road race on a flatter circuit would allow a more even playing field and increase the incentive for riders to “try their luck’’ off the front.

Cycling Australia also announced at the launch of the January 9-13 championships, which were held in Melbourne yesterday, that the time trial would be relocated from Learmonth after two years to an out-and-back circuit starting and finishing at Lake Wendouree and taking in the Avenue of Honour.

This will be the first time the time trial has been raced with a full road closure.

The criterium remains in Sturt Street in the central business district, but has been moved one block to the east.