Sprinters' Gift prelude in Ararat

We are preparing for a bumper New Year's Day for the Maryborough Gift - which comes complete with bagpipe music to ring in the New Year, like a motivational soundtrack for athletes and fans.

Athletes have a chance to stretch their legs today in Ararat. Rob and Narelle Lehmann and Nathan Dixon will be among the Ballarat runners testing their form in the Ararat Gift fields.

CYCLING fans may still have their fingers crossed for the legendary Cadel Evans to race in Ballarat next week (he signed up on Saturday for the Cycling Australia Road National Championships).

Official entries are available today with the cut-off at midnight last night. Here's a little of what we can expect 

ALSO, check out Ballarat's adopted Big Bash League team Melbourne Renegades tonight. Aussie quick James Pattinson will make his first Renegades' appearance.

Pattinson was sidelined for five months with stress fractures in his lower back. Part of his comeback was made in Ballarat a fortnight ago in a visit with Victorian Premier Cricket club Dandenong. Click here for more details.

And speaking of all things cricket, Ballarat Cricket Association may be on its mid-season break for Christmas and New Year but we have broken down the season so far and key playmakers. Who can beat Mt Clear?

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