The bikes will be back in town next month for the AusCycling Road National Championships, one of the first big events to return to Ballarat after the coronavirus struck.
In January last year, Australia's best cyclists faced hot weather in the new Federation University time trial course through Mount Helen, before trying their best not to spin out in the rain on Sturt Street in the Friday night criteriums.
Saturday and Sunday saw huge crowds lining Mount Buninyong like it was in the French Alps, cheering on riders climbing the hills and sprinting to the finish in town.
This year will be a bit different, to say the least.
All events are still scheduled to run from February 3, including for para-cyclists and cyclists with an intellectual disability, as well as new events in the masters categories.
AusCycling's sports general manager Kipp Kaufmann confirmed last week several big-name cyclists will be racing, with many New South Wales-based riders leaving the state well before coronavirus crackdowns came into force.
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The details for spectators are still to be confirmed, but it's understood there will be separate zones for people to watch each event.
Community events like the open-air movie night at DeSoza Park in Buninyong for the Saturday night are expected to run, again with COVID-safe measures in place.
It will be interesting to see the reaction from Ballarat residents used to the event running in January - while several roads will be temporarily closed, including stretches of Sturt Street, many more businesses will be open, and it's hoped there will be more local spectators checking out the event.
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Another point of interest for the Friday night criteriums will be the new layout for the Lyons Street corner - part of road safety upgrades, the Sturt Street intersection was changed to a double U-turn, with raised kerbs.
This will be trickier to navigate for cyclists accustomed to spinning around the corner before screaming back down the hill - no change has been made to the event's map online.
More details on the event are expected to be announced on Thursday - keep an eye on the RoadNats website, and The Courier, for maps, timing, and road closures.
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