SECOND in the City of Greater Bendgo Thousand a year ago, Paul Tancredi is among the sprinters chasing glory at this weekend’s Bendigo International Madison athletics-cycling carnival.
The long-running sprint classic has drawn athletes from near and far to race in Saturday’s heats, and then semi-finals and final on Sunday at the Tom Flood Sports Centre.
In last year’s final, Tancredi was beaten by Peter Walsh in a dramatic finish.
West Indian sprinter Jade Bailey will be a major drawcard at this weekend’s carnival.
The sprinting star from Barbados competed at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Bailey’s campaign on Bendigo’s track includes the women’s 120m, the Bendigo Thousand, and the open 70m.
Winner of the women’s 400m at the 2012 carnival, Stephanie Mollica will again chase the riches.
The women’s 400m final, to be known as the Flack Advisory Black Pearl will be run on Saturday night, just before the Regional Academy of Cycling Excellence women’s madison begins.
A highlight of the carnival is the Bendigo Bank Black Opal 400m, which is the richest of its type on Australia’s professional athletics calendar.
Josh Mather sprinted to a memorable victory last March and will be aiming to do so again.
There will be a strong Bendigo presence across the athletics card, which includes the 70m, 120m, 300m, 400m, 800m, and mile.
The 50th anniversary since Harry Downes broke the four-minute barrier in the mile at Bendigo on March 10, 1963 will be celebrated on Sunday evening.
Flack Advisory has kicked in to provide $3000 for the winner of the backmarkers mile.
Strathdale’s Josh Nolan, now based in Melbourne, is a dual winner of the backmarkers mile on his home track and will be another serious contender.