TV hope for cycling classic

STAN Siejka Classic race organisers expect a big crowd in central Launceston today  and hope a funding commitment means the cycling race will be telecast nationally next year.

Opposition Leader Will Hodgman yesterday promised $75,000 over three years for the event, if the Liberals win government next year.

Mr Hodgman said the funding would allow the event to grow and help organisers push for a live national broadcast.

``The Stan Siejka Cycling Classic is an iconic race that showcases Launceston  while attracting the world's best cyclists,'' he said.

``A live broadcast would see the city of Launceston highlighted to a broader audience, along with the region's rich tourism assets.''

Race organising committee chairman David Martin said the funding promise secured the event's future and made it more attractive as a national event.

Mr Martin said the committee was talking with Southern Cross and SBS and he hoped the event would be telecast next year.

The race, through central Launceston from 7pm today, is the highlight of a weekend of competitive cycling in Launceston.

Mr Martin said good weather  could see 12,000 to 15,000 people watch the race -  an increase on last year.

``I think people have probably come to like and recognise the event for the entertainment it provides,'' he said.

``And I think people have locked it in their calendar.''

The Stan Siejka cycling classic bike race is Tasmania's best showcase cycling event and attracts top riders.

Events start today with Sally's Ride Tamar Valley cycle challenge at 7am, followed in the afternoon by a series of age races and a five-kilometre foot race and fun run from 6pm, then the main event.

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