Elite cycling and AFL returns to town

CAN it get bigger for a sporting weekday in Ballarat?

North Melbourne stakes its claim in town as its "home away from Arden Street" from today and elite cycling returns to our streets in stage one of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour.

Sturt Street will host what is tipped to be a thrilling finish, about lunchtime, in a Geelong to Ballarat leg. The tour will launch its second leg, Ballarat to Bendigo, from Lake Wendouree on Friday morning.

This comes a month after the Cycling Australia Road National Championships - and 2011 Tour De France winner Cadel Evans - fired up Buninyong. Reigning road champ Simon Gerrans is vying for the triple crown he started in Buninyong and followed up with a win in the Tour Down Under.

A full-strength North Melbourne roster will help young footballers and grass-roots clubs fine-tune their game, as well as vying to make community groups smile, in the Kangaroos' two-day AFL community camp.

This is the sixth consecutive year the Kangaroos have used Ballarat as a base deep in the pre-season. They will return to Eureka Stadium next weekend to host a NAB Challenge match against Carlton.

We're also nearing this weekend's Ballarat Gift and, get ready for St Patrick's College to unveil its greatest football line-up tomorrow night.

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