BATHURST Cycling Club riders will look to represent their city with pride in this Saturday when they take on the Western Division Road Championships on their home course.
(min cost $8)
Login or signup to continue reading
The club will be hoping for a numbers boost from Orange, Dubbo and Mudgee ahead of the weekend's test on the three roads course, with a solid Bathurst contingent already signed up for the challenge.
The championships make their return at an earlier time this year after the 2021 edition was cancelled due to COVID-19, and while the colder conditions this season may be a deterrent for entries the hosts are still hoping for a good turnout.
Bathurst will be trying to wrestle back the A grade men's title for the first time since 2017, when Will Hodges took the crown.
Since then Dubbo's Kurt Eather has been a two time winner and Orange's Simon Hickey was also a champion.
Bathurst Cycling Club president David Hyland said the championships are great at bringing club members together.
"We'll have A, B, C and D grades over the three roads course, which is around 40km. There's the climb up to the quarry, which isn't the biggest hill around here, but still tends to sort people out a bit," he said.
"I think a great thing about this event is that it's an opportunity to represent your club against other Central West riders.
"Most of the people who have entered so far are Bathurst riders. We so have entries from a couple of Orange riders, with Cameron Crump and Josiah Cooke, who are both strong. You'll probably find that we'll see a bunch of riders enter later into the week."
The course, which takes on part of the Cow Flat Road climb in its opening half, could give an adventurous rider or a breakaway group the chance to try and make an early winning move.
The downhill run back towards Georges Plains and the journey towards the Newbridge Road turnoff should see the pace pick up, and it will test the stamina of the riders in the approach to the finish on St John's Road.
Bathurst Cycling Club's Mark Windsor hopes more people brave the winter conditions to get around the event.
"Traditionally it's a big race but with COVID and the cold it's been tough on numbers. Normally we'd hold it later in the year but the World Championships are on in September and we can't hold it then because of the sanctions from the national body," he said.
"It's going to be tough to get a decent crowd but at the same time there's a fair bit of prestige because there honour roll is so impressive.
"The change to this time of year to a bleak part of winter will make it tough but we've actually done well to get this event on this year. There's a history for this event going back to the 1880's and I think people appreciate that as well.
"It'd be great to get a Bathurst rider on top, and they've got some form. There's Ben Anderson, from Orange, who's a classy rider, and he'd be the favourite if he's there. Luke Tuckwell is back from overseas so there's a chance he could be there.
"Those two have raced each other for many years and they're two of the top young riders coming through in Australia. If they get to the start line that will bring some impressive quality to the start line in A grade."
Dubbo are also the defending champions in the women's A grade race as well thanks to Hayley Fuller's efforts in 2020.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.