AFTER many months of planning the Bendigo International Madison athletics-cycling carnival is just days way from starting.
Reigning madison champions Christian Grassman and Leif Lampater were among the guests at Tuesday night's official welcome at Bendigo Town Hall.
Chairman of the organising committee, Warren Sinnott said Sunday night's 200-lap madison would cap a huge weekend of sport across the city.
"This carnival has grown to be the biggest of its kind in the southern hemisphere," Sinnott proudly declared.
"Bendigo Spirit being in the basketball grand final, and the fire brigade state championships all add to what's a huge weekend of sport in our city."
The 16-team field for the McCaig Airconditioning and Daikin-backed Bendigo International Madison includes world champions Glenn O'Shea, Alex Edmondson and Miles Scotson.
They teamed up to win gold in the teams pursuit at the latest world track titles in Colombia.
O'Shea's pursuit for a third Bendigo International Madison victory in his old hometown will be with Edmondson.
They face a huge task against the likes of Grassman and Lampater, New Zealanders Shane Archbold and Dylan Kennett, Scotson and Adelaide-based George Tansley from Mandurang.
Bendigo's Aidan Bowe, Sam Crome and Todd Schintler will line up for a second or first start in the great race.
Dutchman Roy Pieters will team up with Crome in the madison.
The carnival begins on Thursday night when the Frank McCaig Memorial Wheelrace (1600m) is contested at the Bendigo and District Cycling Club meeting.
Several of the madison stars will compete. It's free entry to Thursday's racing at the Barnard Street track.
Racing switches to the street on Friday night when the Andy's Earthmovers criterium is raced from 6.30pm along Pall Mall and through Rosalind Park.
"The team at Andy's Earthmovers were eager to support us as a sponsor for the criterium."
Sinnott said Saturday night's Bendigo International Women's Madison would again be a great spectacle.
Among those racing will be Bendigo's Tayla Evans and Macedon's Lauretta Hanson.
The team at women.i.s.e. have played a key part promoting women's night for Saturday's events at the track.
Athletes from many parts of the country will contest classics such as the City of Greater Bendigo Thousand (120m), Bendigo Bank Black Opal 400m, Flack Advisory Black Pearl women's 400m.
Saturday's track program starts at noon. First events on Sunday are at 2.25pm.