FORMER Victorian Premier Steve Bracks says the stage is set to really promote and develop all his hometown has to offer, on and off the bike.
Mr Bracks, now Cycling Australia’s boss, said keeping the Cycling Australia road national championships in Ballarat offered a chance to capitalise on festival-like support and give the city greater exposure as a race back-drop.
About 20,000 people attended this year’s championship events in Ballarat, including the Sturt Street criterium and Buninyong road race, with more than 60 per cent of event-goers coming from out of town.
Mr Bracks said there would be acute attention on who would reign as national champion in the next three years, particularly as a prelude event to next year’s Commonwealth Games and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
“Our vision is to enhance the event even further, to expand the event to get more exposure, more media exposure, including the women's race, and that exposure is great for cycling but also for Ballarat because the vista of Ballarat is showcased and the great panorama of Mount Buninyong and the tough and hard course that it is,” Mr Bracks said.
“There will be a lot of focus and we expect a lot of people are going to be engaged and wanting to be involved.”
Ballarat mayor Samantha McIntosh loved hearing beloved world voice of cycling Phil Liggett talk about Ballarat and Buninyong during his Tour De France commentary, immeasurably putting this city on the world stage.
But, Cr McIntosh said it was vital to keep listening to the community as the event continued to grow.
“It's really important for us to change as we go along and respond to community concerns and I think that's why we've been so successful in this space,” Cr McIntosh said.