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OLYMPIC marathon runner Steve Moneghetti says people can be surprised to see him out on his bike but can be a key part of training, especially when for a good cause.
Ballarat Cycle Classic has given Moneghetti a change in sporting focus this summer. He has turned more to the bike while nursing a sore calf muscle that has prevented him running the distances he would usually be doing.
The Classic ambassador has been preparing for his third time riding in the festival and is set to tackle the 85-kilometre event.
While Moneghetti can often be seen riding about the lake, usually as a way to dash between his running groups in training, he was enjoying a having a different purpose on the bike.
"It's been a good focus for me while I haven't been able to run as much...It's forced me to do a bit more training on the bike," Moneghetti said.
If I can do it, anyone can do it. Some people like a challenge, something out of their comfort zone, and others do it just for the great cause.
"This has become a signature event in Ballarat."
Homegrown AFL identities Danny Frawley, Michael Malthouse and Australian women's criterium champion Rebecca Wiasak join Moneghetti as event ambassadors on course.
"When you see something as big as this and so overwhelmingly supportive of people who were trying to help people then you become very, very proud of the organisation and the community of Ballarat that’s supporting it."Michael Malthouse, Ballarat Cycle Classic Ambassador
Wiasak will be out on her bike, in her green and gold jersey, the day after contesting the Melbourne to Warrnambool Cycle Classic.
- READ MORE:Wiasak's champion call to get pedalling
Moneghetti urged everyone to join them and get moving in the Classic, which had an event for everyone from family rides and a pet-friendly walk to the 100km road ride and 50km extreme mountain bike challenge.
"You can be out there awhile, so it's great to talk to people - there's a good social atmosphere," Moneghetti said.
"This event is great at engaging people who might not exercise a lot or who might want to try something new. You can even get out there with your pets and go for a walk.
"The concept is that this can be easy to take part."
Ballarat Cycle Classic is the major fundraiser for Fiona Elsey Cancer Research Institute, Australia's only regional-based cancer research centre. FECRI receives no government funding.
Reason to ride for Fiona Elsey's vision
STREATHAM mother-of-four Kerrie Mulcahy, Creswick chef Paul Williams and veteran cyclist Volker Hegert have acutely felt the horror effects of cancer.
They share their personal stories in a bid to help fight cancer with world-class research in Ballarat. They hope their stories make a difference in both saving lives and sparing others from what they have endured.
Ms Mulcahy was 42 years old, her youngest child 10 months old, when staring at a death sentence with breast cancer. A double-mastectomy revealed the cancer was not as aggressive as first diagnosed, but the mental scars still linger on her young family.
Mr Williams rides to honour his mother Emma, who died aged 53 with breast cancer. He was 22 years old. Mr Williams rides to promote early detection and awareness.
Mr Hegert is a two-time prostate cancer survivor who says that without advances in technology and treatment from research, he would unlikely still be here today.
Together, their united appeal has played out in a broadcast campaign wanting you to ride, walk, run or roll in Ballarat Cycle Classic to raise money for Fiona Elsey Research Institute.
The Institute is the vision of Ballarat teenager Fiona Elsey, who died with cancer in 1991. Fiona made her oncologist George Kannourkis to find a way to carry out international cancer research in their hometown.
Almost 30 years later, FECRI is making world-class contributions to cancer research, with particular recognition in ovarian cancer and histiocytic disorders.
FECRI has nine senior scientific staff and eight PhD students from Federation University.
All you need to know to take part
REGISTRATIONS will remain open online for Ballarat Cycle Classic until events get underway on Sunday morning: ballaratcycleclassic.com.au.
You can still register in person in the events village, near Windmill Drive, on Saturday 2-6pm and Sunday from 7am.
ROAD RIDES: 50km, 60km, 85km and 100km courses, all taking in the nationals' Mount Buninyong climb, from 8.15am.
MOUNTAIN BIKE: 40km challenge or 50km extreme ride, from 7.45am.
FAMILY RIDES: 6km laps of the lake (from 8.45am), 28km adventure ride (8.30am).
ON FOOT: Pet-friendly 6km walk or fun, from 9am.
Events start and finish in the Lake Wendouree events precinct, which features live entertainment, food and fun.
Weather conditions are forecast to be 30C and mostly sunny and not windy.
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