AUSTRALIA’S newest all-women cycling event will launch in Ballarat next month.
The Tour of the Goldfields, unveiled yesterday, will be the sixth and deciding leg of the Subaru National Road Series, the road season finale.
It also serves as a major hit-out for the Cycling Australia Road National Championships about Ballarat in January.
A 20-kilometre time trial around Lake Burrumbeet will bring something different for cycling fans in Ballarat.
The three-day program will also feature a criterium in Victoria Park and road racing at Lake Burrumbeet and Snake Valley.
Cycling Victoria general manager Kipp Kaufmann said the tour was another feather in the cap for Ballarat, and reinforced the city’s billing as the home of Australian road cycling.
“The tour goes in line with the city’s other major cycling events like the Melbourne to Ballarat Classic and the nationals and fits with the strong culture around cycling that’s been built up,” Kaufmann said.
“It’s also a great opportunity to have a unique event that’s focused on women and will raise the profile of women’s cycling.
“By the time it reaches Ballarat, it will be make or break for the riders, who have a chance of winning the series.”
Kaufmann said Ballarat was a great choice to host a tour, starting in Victoria Park which has a proven a successful and fast 1.2-kilometre criterium course that has featured in the Australian Masters Cycling Championships and school championship events.
The final decisive race for classification points will be a 100km road race in Snake Valley.
Team Holden rider Miranda Griffiths said this was a great chance to really test form and get a taste of Ballarat roads two months out from nationals.
“Nationals is really the only opportunity we get to race the high-level girls and this tour, being towards the end of the season, we can get a good idea of form,” Griffiths, who hails from Daylesford, said.
The women’s national road series in the Tasmanian Mersey Valley, the New South Wales-Queensland border, Tamworth and Canberra.
The Tour of the Goldfields follows Warrnambool’s Shipwreck Coast Cycling Classic and should entice interstate competitors to continue through to Ballarat.
Ballarat Regional Tourism chairman Stuart Benjamin said Tour of the Goldfields would not only have a great economic impact for Ballarat businesses but helped underpin the city’s overall cycling strategy.
“We’ve managed to cement our name as the home of Australian road cycling and we’ve worked hard to do that,” Benjamin said.
“We’ve worked alongside Cycling Australia and Cycling Victoria on events and delivered on what we promised in venues and know-how.”
Benjamin said Tour of the Goldfields would also have national television coverage, which would show off the region.
Importantly, the tour would give riders a chance to compete in Ballarat where come January, the nation’s top riders would be out in force.