THE Cycling National Road Championships are thought to have brought more than four million dollars to the city of Ballarat this year.
Ballarat Regional Tourism director George Sossi said the Cycling Australia event had attracted more people than ever and should continue to boom in the future.
“Last year it brought approximately $3.7 million to the city, so this year we can estimate it would be in excess of $4 million,” Mr Sossi said. “It’s a bit early to know the complete economic impact for the city, but we can already see some of what it’s done for the city.”
The five-day-event, which finished on Sunday with the elite men’s road race at Buninyong, attracted an extra 5000 people to the city on last year’s numbers.
“The event brought more than 25,000 people to the city, and accommodation across the city was 80-90 per cent full,” Mr Sossi said.
City of Ballarat deputy mayor Samantha McIntosh said the benefit of the event, funded by the city, was much more than economic.
“The fact that now Ballarat is the cycling capital of the nation didn’t happen overnight – it’s something we’ve worked for,” Cr McIntosh said.
Mr Sossi said that having direct televised coverage, with highlight packages from all the days, had been great for the city.
“To have the cyclists go through Lake Wendouree and under the Arch of Victory, two of Ballarat’s greatest icons, and get them on national TV is extraordinary,” Mr Sossi said.
“Changing courses is always risky, but for us the time trial was a great hit.”
Mr Sossi said that like every year, this year’s event would be reviewed to see where improvements could be made.
“There were a few hiccups with the course, which we’ll work on for next year – notification of courses needs to be earlier,” he said.
Cr McIntosh said the introduction of Amy’s Ride on Sunday transformed the event.
“The introduction of Amy’s Ride to the event made it totally different, where it was not just the national cycling community participating, it had community involvement as well,” she said.