Australia’s summer of cycling will come to life in January at the MARS 2017 Cycling Australia Road National Championships in Ballarat from January 4-8. ‘RoadNats’ is a five-day action packed festival which offers all cycling enthusiasts a chance to live and breathe the sport for a week, whether it be by racing, watching or riding.
The Championships will explode on Wednesday 4 January, with a twilight criterium race on the streets of Ballarat plus a host of entertainment and activities set to transform the city into a cycling mecca.
On Thursday 5 January, the purest test of cycling fortitude – the individual time trial – will take centre stage along the picturesque rolling hills of Golden Plains Shire.
The iconic Mt Buninyong circuit will once again be the perfect backdrop for the weekend’s road race action. Australia’s rising stars will warm up the course on Saturday afternoon in the under 23 race, while ‘Super Sunday’ will showcase some of the world’s best in the women’s and men’s road races.
While Australia’s best will battle it out for the coveted green and gold jersey, the Road Nationals Gran Fondo is an opportunity for lovers of cycling to embrace the atmosphere.
Entries are already coming in from all over Australia for the Gran Fondo which provides amateur and recreational riders their chance to tackle the fully closed roads of the tough Buninyong circuit, and to test themselves on the same course as the pros.
“RoadNats has transformed into five of the biggest days on Australia’s cycling calendar and 2017 promises to be bigger and better,” said Nicholas Green OAM, CEO of Cycling Australia.
“There will be no shortage of opportunities for cycling fans to immerse themselves in the week’s festivities, whether it be racing themselves, lining the streets to cheer on their heroes or tackling the Gran Fondo course.”
The City of Ballarat has played a major role in allowing the Championships to become one of Australia’s most iconic sporting events, the regional city playing home to thousands of professional cyclists over the past 11 years.
City of Ballarat CEO Justine Linley said RoadNats is an integral part of the city’s sporting strategy. “This is the biggest sporting event on Ballarat’s calendar. It’s a fantastic opportunity to showcase our superior cycling infrastructure and put our city’s beautiful street and landscapes on the map to a global audience,” she said.
More than 30,000 spectators attended the five-day festival in 2016, showcasing Ballarat’s cafes, restaurants, retail, accommodation and attractions to domestic and international visitors.
Visit Ballarat CEO Noel Dempsey said the habits of visitors to the event have evolved over the past 11 years.
“We’re seeing whole families visit Ballarat for RoadNats. They’re watching and participating in the cycling events, they’re visiting attractions and eating in the local cafes and restaurants. They’re doing more and staying longer. This is an event that provides great benefit for the whole community.”
4-8 January 2017, Ballarat
Wednesday 4 January – Criterium
Thursday 5 January – Individual Time Trial
Saturday 7 January – Gran Fondo / U23 Road Race
Sunday 8 January – Men’s and Women’s Road Race
Images: JPX Photography.