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Roads in excellent standard for cycling championships

- City of Ballarat Mayor Cr Samantha McIntosh


The City of Ballarat maintains all roads to an appropriate safety standard, including those used by the Federation University Cycling Road Nationals in Buninyong last weekend.


However, specifically in preparation for the cycling event, the City of Ballarat worked closely with Cycling Australia over several months prior to the event to ensure these safety standards for road racing surfaces and corners were at an appropriate level for cycling.


Occasionally specific hot spots, such as loose edging and potholes, received additional attention to ensure rider safety and Cycling Australia was very happy with the course standard.


A number of European cycling events race over cobblestones and great lengths of rural roads that are far less maintained than those in Ballarat. Elite cyclists are well trained for this and the riders’ experience of Ballarat’s roads was an unanimously positive one.


Lastly, the City of Ballarat and Cycling Australia closely monitor the event’s visual and reputational outcomes, and, to date, no questions have been raised about the look of the road surface. Indeed, the rural and mountainous setting of the Road Races are very much part of their appeal.


The 2019 Federation University Cycling Road Nationals was a resounding success. The number of riders rose from 1100 last year to 1600 this January. This represents a 40 per cent increase, clearly indicating the desire for Australia’s best cyclists to compete at Ballarat.


While survey data is still being compiled, early figures indicate the audience over five days of racing exceeded 20,000, which includes a 10 per cent increase in the Criterium audience.


The change to a Friday night Criterium had a very positive effect and we are encouraged that the survey data will find a greater number of visitors stayed on overnight, providing a valuable injection for our local hospitality and accommodation providers.


Another popular community initiative was the Buninyong Movie Night on Saturday, which over 400 people attended and was well received by the Buninyong community.


The attendance figures, and calculating the economic impact, is achieved by an independent third-party data gathering company who use face to face assisted surveying and live head counting techniques. This is commissioned by Cycling Australia with the results yet to be released.


Ballarat Mayor Cr Samantha McIntosh said it was also fantastic to see many locals stay in Ballarat to experience the thrill and excitement of the event and encouraged more locals to do the same in 2020.


“Our beautiful city of Ballarat and the village of Buninyong, were put on a national and international stage,” Cr McIntosh said.


“Our renowned Federation University, which is the event sponsor, should be commended on not only how well it promoted itself to potential students but also on how it creatively provided hands-on development opportunities during the event for current students.


Cr McIntosh said the world-first hosting of the ecycling event also proved very popular and was expected to be a future growth area.


“We have a wonderful calendar of events over the whole summer season.


“The Road Nationals are a vital part of our 10-year event strategy and we are looking to ensure year-on-year development of all the events we support and run.”


“The national and international media coverage for both Ballarat and Buninyong is believed to have been bigger and better than other years and is valued in the millions.


“We also want to thank the Buninyong community for the way they have embraced the event and looked for ways to capitalise on it as a township.


“It’s also great to see our Creative City Strategy, although still in draft form, starting to have an impact with the artistically presented bike sculptures around the town as part of the Ballarat Art Bikes project.


“We look forward to see locals and visitors alike at the 2020 Federation University Cycling Road Nationals.”