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October 21, 2017
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  • jules

    Bendigo would be an obvious competitor in Vic. I suspect there would need to be a fair shift in mindset before it could be successfully held in NSW. If CA is looking for govt support, they first need to address the outright hostility and opposition to cycling up there from their govt. Then talk about support.

    • My understanding is that Bendigo doesn’t have the same money to throw at it as Ballarat does. And agreed re: NSW.

      • jules

        a quick check of state election results confirms that Ballarat is a marginal seat, Bendigo not so much. if CA wants state govt money I can advise them which of the two locations to shoot for.

        • DaveRides

          Forget the states, go for federal money (something that CA is quite happy with doing just for day to day operating expenses) and shift the race to Rockhampton or Townsville!

          • jules

            now we’re cooking

          • Michele Graham

            Or the Sunshine Coast where Froomie recently trained & where team GB are basing themselves before the Commonwealth Games. Flat roads & hinterland, lots of accommodation. Look at the Success of the Noosa triathlon.

            • DaveRides

              Look up the federal election results and you’ll see why I selected those two cities.

              The best place to have it in Queensland if we were to stop joking about marginal seats would be on the Commonwealth Games course inland from the Gold Coast. Home ground advantage, same plentiful accomodation and a better airport.

      • Sean

        Geelong hosting it for the next 15 years makes sense.

  • David

    It seems as though the state of Victoria already offers a lot of support, including financial, to cycling races. Perhaps another state could host it, thereby offering them some benefit, and sharing the financial strain a little. The social value of supporting and promoting a healthy lifestyle (the doping issue not withstanding) with positive benefits is of great value to community, state and nation and should not be overlooked; it’s highly admirable. I’m an interested observer though, rather than a participant.

    • jules

      this is off-topic slightly, but govts support a wide range of events and programs with purported community benefits – inc. health, diverting youth from crime borne out of boredom, jobs, tourism, etc.

      the problem is that the list of potential candidates for such funding is inexhaustible and demonstrably funding all of them would bankrupt any govt. in other words, govts need to be selective about which to fund and also its demonstrable that many or most do not yield the purported benefits, or otherwise greater govt investment would just continue to yield greater community benefits. it doesn’t.

      is funding a national cycling champs worthwhile? I’d like to think so, but I reckon it’s debatable.

      • David

        You’re right of course, no government has unlimited funds, no matter how good the cause. Some members of the community would see supporting a cycling race good for the community whilst others – likely many others – would see it as an inconvenience. I like cycling, so naturally I’ll admire governments that offer some support to it.

  • DaveRides

    Every time this comes up, I’ve made the following points:

    1. Running it on the same course every year is ridiculous and makes Australia look small in the world of cycling. If it stays in the Ballarat area, it should use different roads at least once every two years.

    2. The support given by the City of Ballarat has been excellent and the event should stay there so long as they are happy to keep supporting it. They built it up to where it is so they deserve to keep it – same goes for the other big summer cycling events of TDU, Cadel, Herald-Sun and Bay Crits. But if CA wants to look that shouldn’t preclude CA starting to work out what happens after they part ways with Ballarat, in fact it would be a mark of professionalism for CA to have those plans ready to go if the Ballarat deal doesn’t get renewed.

    3. My favoured model for what comes next would be to get the state/territory federations more involved and take a touch of inspiration from the biggest rating event on SBS every year – Eurovision. Select one of the four major events (women’s TT, women’s RR, men’s TT, men’s RR) from a hat at the start of the week and award hosting rights to the state whose rider wins that event. It should be subject to a requirement that the RR course has previously been used for a national/international level event, and that no state would be allowed to host it three years in a row.

    4. For 2018 only it should be held on the Commonwealth Games road race course set around the Gold Coast, as a test event for the organisers and as a course preview for the home team.

    • CapeHorn

      Some interesting ideas, but point four shines above the rest.
      Even if only for one year (and back to Ballarat in 2019), the CW games courses should be used.

    • DaveRides

      Speaking of things which make Australian cycling look small, I hope that Cadel’s Race doesn’t continue the CA practice of having intermediate sprint and KOM classifications in one day races. That would be embarrassing for a new WorldTour event.

      • jules

        they have them in Le Tour though?

        • DaveRides

          But not in Paris-Roubaix, the biggest race won by an Australian last year.

          This year, the national championships should honour the success of Mat Hayman by removing all classifications other than the overall win, or by keeping them but awarding a polished turd as the trophy if the winner did not also win the race.

          • jules

            they could have an authentic Paris-Roubaix feel about the race by holding it in Lindsay Fox’s truck proving ground, behind Anglesea which is pretty close to where the Cadel race goes. for further Aussie flavour Lindsay could get a few trucks out on the course to cut up the riders, none of this pampered European closed roads stuff.

            • DaveRides

              Potential future use for Ford or Holden proving grounds once the car industry closes? They additionally have banked ovals so the track championships could be held at the same time.

              • jules

                perfect. also they are very secretive and don’t allow cameras in those venues so there would be no impact on the general media’s policy of ignoring the event

                • DaveRides

                  A policy which was properly observed by the so-called home of cycling last night. Even having Tomo as the anchor wasn’t enough to get the TT races a mention on SBS World News.

    • RayG

      Re. 4. That would mean the test event was more important to the cycling world than the ‘main’ event.

      • Interesting point.

      • DaveRides

        Some would say so, some would disagree.

        But surely it’s a good thing either way! The road nationals would get a publicity boost from the connection with the Commonwealth Games, and the organisers of a major event would get their test event to make sure they don’t stuff up the real deal.

  • Tony Mclean

    If it’s all about not being fair for the sprinters….just give the fast finishers a lap out. Or give them “E” bikes to get up the hill.That would be fair.

    • DaveRides

      The article was not written by Chloe Hosking, so it’s not just about the sprinters getting salty.

  • markpa

    Tasmanian’s have been debating the fact that the current Tour of Tas. doesn’t make it to Hobart.
    So bring in the nationals, love to see the criterium racing around Battery Point and past the pubs and bars there and on Salamanca, give the climbers some fun and make it a Mt Wellington TT and the road race can do a few loops of the Commando.

    • Hobart would be a great place for the Nationals. I’m not sure what the financial situation is there – does the city/state government have the money to throw at it? – but the logistics will make things tricky. With Ballarat a lot of people can drive there (inc. from Adelaide). Hobart is trickier. Maybe not a deal-breaker, but does make it a little more complicated.

      • jules

        no, Tassie is poor. OTOH, interstate attendees would be forced to spend up so it makes sense for them on that level. a lot of punters who will be at the Nats this weekend will commute from Melbs.

      • In my experience, Tasmania, or the councils, particularly north, are incredibly in to cycling. The Tour of Tasmania had such great input from the regions and was so well received by the locals.

      • markpa

        The cost of running the Nats would have to be less than what each AFL game costs the state.
        I saw some figures comparing the State Govt. subsidy for MONA FOMA, AFL & Super Cars and the differences where ridiculous.
        One of the sponsors of AFL is Spirit of Tasmania as it puts people on the boats.
        However, this isn’t the time of year that tourism needs to fill beds as occupancy levels are already high.

  • Robert Merkel

    Leaving aside the venue issues, the problem with changing the nature of the course is the fact that of the 15 best riders in the race, eight are on the one team and no other team has more than two.

    The Buninyong course gives riders from a team other than Orica-Scott a reasonable chance to win. A flat course will result in ORS throwing Durbo in the break and destroying whatever poor NRS riders he takes with him, or Ewan getting an armchair ride to the finish. The only other course that gives others a chance would be a mountain top finish and even then Rohan Dennis would probably need a few teammates for the day to stop ORS putting somebody in the break far enough ahead of Porte.

    • jules

      I don’t see why non-OGE (OS?) riders can’t collude to neutralise OGE’s attempts to control the race. IIRC, Durbo won one year with a solo break. why not put a couple, or several riders in the break with him? sit on him. is he that strong he can just ride them off his wheel?

      I wonder if the bigger problem is getting a break away without any OGE riders. they will just bring it back, with the freakish exception of Jack B last year, but no one expected that.

      • Sean

        that’s easier said than done @disqus_bDUiSNPQWN:disqus

        • jules

          in what sense?

      • DaveRides

        ORS is the team code for this year.

        Durbo’s win wasn’t a solo break. He went with the first attack just to make sure the team didn’t miss it, swapped turns with them for most of the race, then rode them off the wheel in the last five laps.

        The only thing preventing a number of riders on overseas teams forming a mixed team to contest the summer domestic events here (including the Bay Crits as well) is that they’ll need the permission of their regular team.

        Things aren’t as unbalanced as they used to be. ORS only have ten Australian riders now, not all of them will even start on Sunday and a few will drop out as soon as it stops being a useful training ride.

        • jules

          but they don’t need to form a formal mixed team. surely if you’re on your lonesome (team-wise) at the Nats on Sunday you can word up a few riders in a similar boat and agree to ride against ORS? if local club riders can manage this (and they do), then why not pros?

          • DaveRides

            A 50-50 mix of Ego and the fact they go past the cafes at the end of each lap in Buninyong.

            Forming a mixed team may help some get over those hurdles, once there’s something to make it a little more formal than a word or two on the road.

        • Robert Merkel

          And if somebody they thought was strong enough to not get ridden off Durbo’s wheel had been in the break and could have outclimbed or outsprinted him – somebody like Nathan Haas, say – they would have brought the break back and waited for another more agreeable one to form.

          • DaveRides

            Yes, because they are really great at picking which breaks to burn matches chasing. How good was their dominant performance to get the jersey last year!

            The preview says they’ll only have 5-6 starters this year, so they certainly aren’t a super team these days.

            As has been pointed out already, there is nothing stopping other riders forming a mixed team or an informal alliance except their own egos. It would be in the interests of the BMC riders to join forces and work for someone else in January, as that could win them an ally or two for a certain major race they’ll be targeting in July.

  • MattVC

    Stromlo in Canberra surely has to be a contender – purpose built crit course with a grandstand, a great 35km loop, with a number of possible extensions (check out Fitz’s challenge route) for the main race. You could even fit a 40km TT on the Uiarra/Brindabella road. The whole thing can be based from one hub that is used to putting on big bike races (Scott 24 hour mtb race, MTB world champs). It may be better known as an MTB venue, but the roads are great as well. Finally it’s 30 minutes to the airport and 15 minutes to the CBD.

    • jules

      what’s the crit course like? is it one of those mini-car racing circuits with flowing corners that don’t test handling and miss the point? or a proper course that you can get more cheaply by just coning off an industrial block

      • Pete23

        The former, and just happens to be shaped like a giant dong, though the streets of the soon to be new suburb denman-prospect make an excellent venue for a night crit!! However, can confirm the cotter-urriara loop would make a great road race loop

        • jules

          a crit circuit you can pedal the whole way around is not really a crit circuit *thumbs down*

          • DaveRides

            The crit championship is just a publicity gimmick, and wouldn’t really work if it was held out in the bush.

            Nothing stopping the crit from being held in the city and the road races out of town – it currently works quite well for the Ballarat crit and the Buninyong kermesse and for the crit/prologue linked to all three of the UCI races here.

    • winkybiker

      Canberra doesn’t seem to have any trouble securing road closures and plenty of police for the “Summmernats”.

      • DaveRides

        The ACT didn’t have a problem holding the Oceania Road Cycling Championships either, despite those prestigious international races having more kangaroos watching than people.

  • Daniel

    Ive never understood why the finish line is not moved around the course each year. Have a Wilunga type finish on top of the hill one year. The climb is not hard enough for it to be just a finish for pure climbers, puncheurs would still be the favourites.

  • Matt Briody

    The only case that can be made for moving it is that the course is getting a bit stale. There’s no shortage of roads in and around Buninyong though, including plenty of undulating hills, and other ways up and around the mountain.
    Personally I’d like to see them ride up Gear Avenue, or even finish in the Sebastopol Velodrome…

  • Alan Walker

    Whatever the course, I hope it will be one that favours someone who can power away from the field. Why? Because the race is supposed to determine the *individual* champion. Having a team deliver a well-rested sprinter to the finish line and calling them the Australian champion makes about as much sense as declaring the bowler who took the winning wicket to be the Australian national cricket champion.

    • Sean

      I pretty much agree with your comment, someone like Mark Renshaw never deserved the title he was so vocal about not being able to win. Enough fast guys (inc. ex track riders) have won or finished on the podium over the years to prove he is just a sook.

      • Sean

        Ex track riders first and second last year……they need to move the finish to the top of the climb every second year.

    • DaveRides

      How about Zwift Island as a venue then? That would be perfect for eliminating skills and tactics so it becomes a simple power contest, plus it would take care of all sorts of other issues around paying for road closures, cost of attendance for WA-based riders, transport access for spectators etc.

      Cricket is actually a perfect analogy, as it is (like cycling) a sport which combines athletic performance and team tactics. The bowlers get the credit for the wickets, but it takes the whole team to apply the pressure with the bowling in previous overs, fielding and so on.

  • Captain obvious

    Ballarat is a great course and a great race. I see no reason not to keep a race there, not necessarily the nationals but continue hosting a race there, building it slowly to ‘classic’ status.

    Let another city host the nationals for some years, before doing the same. Rinse and repeat elsewhere after that.

    In time, Australia will then have a truly great series of races with charachter and history, all the while proving there is a viable way to host races AND increase exposure.

  • Mark Daly

    Canberra would be perfect. Good roads, including a mix of flat roads and mountains, a strong cycling culture and a local government keen on promoting big sporting events.

  • Keir

    This is a pretty interesting issue and living in Hepburn Shire which is adjoining Ballarat I have to say I love the Nationals being in Ballarat. They have been a fantastic council in regards to investment in the event and promotion of the event. I agree though that being the Australian Nationals it probably should be shared around.

    The event has demonstrated it’s ability to sustain a crowd and generate a substantial following. Perhaps if the event was held at one in QLD, one in NSW, Tassie perhaps as well as Ballarat on a rotational basis. You would then be satisfying a reasonable bulk of the cycling enthusiast community. People wouldn’t be getting tired of the same location, people could organise some holidays around visiting somewhere different and as long as it had all the same events such as the Gran Fondo it could really become an annual event for people to visit.

    This concept would also spread the financial load on the regional councils as well not having to stump up every year. For example Noosa one year, Wollongong the next, Hobart and then Ballarat. South Australia has TDU and logistics and cost I am thinking would possibly make WA a touch difficult. It’s the same with the Gran Fondo, I live 40km from Ballarat and to be honest I’m not going to spend substantial coin to go cycling there but if I was going to go to Noosa lets say to go and watch the Nationals, would I take my bike and do the Gran Fondo as well? You bet I would. Maybe we need to look outside the box a bit.

    I know one thing though. As much as we are all state rivals to varying degrees true cyclists enjoy showing off their area, their climbs, their coffee spots and their way of cycling to visitors. If that spot has a great cycling culture like Ballarat, is prepared to make the sizeable investment and the logistics can be sorted out then let’s embrace some change.

    Keir Whitcher
    Daylesford

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