THE addition of the Extreme Challenge to this year’s Blayney to Bathurst Cyclo Sportif Challenge has been hailed a success – and the 162-kilometre course will now be a permanent feature of the weekend.
While the challenge made a successful debut, one of the riders tackling it suffered a bad fall early yesterday afternoon that temporarily stopped the race.
The male rider suffered facial injuries – and what police were initially worried might be spinal injuries – after a crash at Rockley Mount, south of Bathurst.
The cyclist was airlifted to Westmead Hospital.
Riders were sent back through Perthville 125 kilometres into the challenge after the crash.
“As a safety precaution the officials stepped in and the race was stopped,” Cycling NSW CEO Kevin Young said.
“The man was taken to Westmead as a precaution, but we expect him to make a full recovery.
“We don’t know how the crash happened and we won’t know until we speak to him.”
Mick Curran took the inaugural Extreme Challenge title.
Mr Young said a record of close to 3000 people were involved in the weekend’s racing.
“The first B2B we had 165 people enter; the Extreme Challenge had 285,” he said.
“Being the first [Extreme Challenge] race, there are things we will look at, but overall it was a huge success. We had 200 people register on Saturday and another 50 on Sunday.”
Rotary Club of Bathurst Daybreak president Garry Taunton said the club believes the event will keep growing.
“We have seen a 20 per cent jump in competitors each year and it is growing as predicted,” he said.
“It was exhilarating and exhausting all at the same time and really was just a tremendous day. We are already looking to next year with more competitors.
“Cycling is a high risk sport and accidents do happen, but we do everything we can to minimise them.
“Safety is our major concern and next year we will look at full road closures. Having so many competitors, we believe that is the only way to go.”
Bathurst Cycling Club president Mark Windsor was in awe yesterday.
“The cycling club could not organise anything like this, as they would be racing, but Rotary saw what this event could be and have done a fantastic job,” Mr Windsor said.
“All praise needs to be given and I am so excited to see what this event has become.”
Youth mental health foundation headspace is the beneficiary of the B2B for the fourth year in a row and Mr Taunton believes they will be able to donate in excess of $30,000.
“Last year we donated $30,000 and based on numbers we will match that and might be able to increase it by $5000,” he said.