Cycling Road Nationals Championship in Ballarat to stay, says tourism chief

AS Ballarat is flooded with lycra-clad cycling enthusiasts, some residents might be wondering what all the fuss is about. 

The Cycling Australia Road National Championships is locked with Ballarat until 2017, according to Regional Tourism chief executive George Sossi, meaning there is no doubt the event is here for the long haul. 

The championships is spread out over the week, taking in the best parts of Burrumbeet today before moving into Ballarat tomorrow.

Saturday and Sunday will see the grand finale take place in Buninyong and is expected to draw a large crowd.

Mr Sossi said the event was officially secured for next year with negotiations to take place following then for the next two years.

“We have a further two years subject to price negotiations,” he said.

“As far as we are concerned we have it until 2017.” 

The event draws in millions of dollars to be spent in Ballarat with the city expected to face some competition in the future as other cities attempt to steal it away. 

Mr Sossi said he didn’t believe too many other regional cities could handle the event, however he did say the event could be held in a capital city. 

“I am sure other people would like to put their hands on it but right now we have it and we would like to hang onto it,” he said. 

“People have been arriving since Sunday and they keep coming, the bulk of them are already here.

“The estimated economic impact last year was in excess of $3.6 million so it is a great event for Ballarat. 

“It is fantastic for the sport and it is fantastic for Ballarat.”

City of Ballarat mayor Josh Morris said the council was proud to host the event for the eighth year. 

“Last year’s championships attracted record crowds of 25,000 to the Ballarat region, providing a significant economic boost to the tourism sector as well giving locals the chance to see Australia’s best cyclists up close,” Cr Morris said. 

“National coverage of the event through SBS and other media offers widespread promotion of Ballarat as a cycling and tourism destination.”

matthew.dixon@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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