THE 2012 Victorian Open Road Championships are heading to Bendigo in November.
The event will enhance the city’s reputation as Victoria’s regional cycling hub.
Sydney Olympic cycling gold medallist Scott McGrory was on hand to welcome the news, which will see 250 elite male and female cyclists from across Australia compete in time trial, road race and criterium events.
Event organiser John Craven said the three courses, which travel through Emu Creek, Spring Gully and the Bendigo CBD, would be a test for the best cyclists in Australia.
“They are fantastic, true championship courses,” he said. “You’ll see some outstanding racing.”
Mr Craven said the City of Great Bendigo was “extremely persuasive” when poaching the event from Geelong, where it has been held for the past three years.
“Bendigo has a rich cycling heritage, a good council to work with and some top riders have come out of Bendigo,” he said.
The championship could bring up to 1000 riders, officials, sponsors and supporters to Bendigo across the three days, Mr Craven said.
Council city futures director Stan Liacos said it would secure Bendigo’s reputation as a major events hub.
“The cycling mafia in the city – and there’s a lot of them – have been on our back for a while... so we’re thrilled,” he said.
“We think we are a cycling hub in terms of participation (and) we wanted a road cycling event of high calibre in our city.”
He said the city would receive an economic, social and promotional boost out of the road championships.
“I see (it) lifting our profile. We probably see an economic benefit of several hundred-thousand dollars,” Mr Liacos said.
“If you get about a thousand people verging on our city for several days, it rings the cash register.”
Mr McGrory said he wouldn’t be donning the lycra for the event, but called on London 2012 Olympic silver medallist Glenn O’Shea to represent his hometown in the championships.
“This is very important for Bendigo and the greater cycling community,” he said.
“Glenn O’Shea loves his town, I’m sure we can twist his arm to compete.”