First class

First class

With the Cycling Australia Masters RoadNats coming to an end last Sunday, feedback from racers is that East Gippsland’s courses were better than last year’s event, which was held on the Commonwealth Games tracks on the Gold Coast.

The Masters RoadNats is the second largest national championship event of the Cycling Australia calendar and almost 800 entries from across the country experienced all East Gippsland has to offer in terms of cycling and weather, including 15 racers from Bairnsdale Cycling Club.

Cycling Victoria events manager, Karin Jones, said the event was a huge success.

“Last year the event was held in Queensland on the Commonwealth Game’s course and the feedback I have received in subsequent emails is that this has been the best run event that they can remember and this is coming from people that go to every event,” she said.

“The courses were the best that they’ve had and comparing that to a Commonwealth Game’s course that was used last year, I am pretty excited about that.”

Ms Jones says that she and Cycling Victoria would love to have the event in East Gippsland again next year as they have received positive feedback, not just from the riders, but the community as well.

“We would love to keep the event in Victoria for a couple of years,” she said.

“The National Elite Championships seems to have a home in Ballarat for the next few years as it has been there for the last four years.

“To have continuity is certainly really encouraging from an event organiser’s point of view, but also from the local traders.

“The number of people that came up to me over the weekend from restaurants to accommodation asking when we can have it back again was really good. They certainly noticed the significant benefit to them.

“I know there is definite interest from the mayor (Cr Joe Rettino) and from other council staff so we are going to follow that up once the dust has settled from this event as to what the opportunities are for the next few years.”

The feedback from cyclists that competed in the Cycling Australia Masters RoadNats is critical for the success of the event and to get such positive feedback has put East Gippsland on the map as one of the best cycling destinations in Victoria.

“We had the Swan Reach Primary School catering for us on Friday and Saturday and they just loved it,” Ms Jones said.

“They provided all our staff and volunteers with lunch packs, they had a coffee and barbecue stand and they did really well out of it and said they can’t wait to have you back.

“There were so many people that approached me that said the event has been so fantastic for the area.

“I think the cyclists liked the course because there was some variety. It wasn’t a pure sprinter or climber course, it was an opportunity for riders to get into a break away or have an early attack.

“I think the variety and safety was the real attraction.”

On Sunday, Bairnsdale Cycling Club’s Kai Rothlisberger impressed in the masters men’s one division where he finished ninth.

In the masters men’s nine division Donald Stewart was unable to finish the race.

Cassie Lear finished third in the masters women’s two division while Sharon Blegg finished fifth in the masters women’s five division.

PICTURED: Guy Falla, of Gold Coast Cycling Club (silver), Mike Renehan, of Wellington Cycling Club (gold), and Laurie Venn, of Preston Cycling Club (bronze), celebrate their Cycling Australia Masters RoadNats Championships criterium podium finish last Sunday.