Cadel Evans' star power a boost for cycling in Ballarat

THE star power of Cadel Evans has been tipped to deliver a media and marketing coup for cycling in Ballarat.

University of Melbourne professor of marketing Bryan Lukas said when a celebrity took part in a regional event, people took notice.

“He’s a cut above,” he said.

“When somebody is good and chooses something, people pay attention.

“It’s certainly a bonus for the event and the city.”

The culmination of the Road National Championships, Sunday’s Elite Men’s Road Race at Buninyong will be televised live on SBS with spectators also expected to line the streets to watch the action and catch a glimpse of the Tour de France winner in person.

The event is believed to be Evans’ first return to racing in Australia since his historic Tour de France victory.

Professor Lukas compared it with the star power of Roger Federer at the recent Brisbane Internal Tennis tournament.

He said the Brisbane event attracted “more attention with Roger Federer playing” and Buninyong also had a great opportunity for exposure.

“These are the building blocks towards a higher level touring event that will attract a broader range of higher performing athletes,” he said.

“This is how you do it.”

In 2013, more than 100,000 people nationwide tuned in to the SBS broadcast of Ballarat and Buninyong cycling event.

About 1 million viewers watched as Australian Cadel Evans won the 2012 Tour de France. 

Professor Lukas said it was likely several people not typically interested in cycling would tune in because it was Evans racing.

The challenge for organisers of the Buninyong event would be to maintain the momentum in coming years, he said.

“If that can be achieved the event is moved up a notch,” Professor Lukas said.

rachel.afflick@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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