Tasmania has pulled off another major cycling coup by securing hosting rights for the next three Oceania road championships.
The titles are below only world championships in ranking and standing with the Oceania Cycling Confederation awarding them following Tasmania’s successful staging of the national junior track series (2012-15) and junior track nationals (2016) at the Silverdome and junior road nationals this year.
Cycling Tasmania executive officer Collin Burns said the state’s case was further strengthened by the success of regional, national and community events such as the Tour of Tasmania, Launceston Cycling Festival, Mersey Valley Tour, mountain bike’s Enduro World Series, Australian Masters Games, Sally’s Ride and Cradle Peaks Challenge.
“These events help put Tasmania and our roads on the national and international compass as a cycling destination,” Burns said.
“The world is talking about Derby and the mountain bike scene and the opportunity to host a continental championship event such as the Oceania Road Cycling Championships will only increase the magnetism for cyclists to visit Tasmania for sport, recreation and tourism.”
Staged with the support of Cycling Australia, the State Government and Mersey Valley Devonport Cycling Club and expected to be in Evandale and Railton from March 23-25, the 2018 titles will be the last selection event for the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast a month later.
Oceania Cycling Confederation president and UCI management committee member Tracey Gaudry said awarding the championships to Tasmania for the first time was recognition of the growing role that cycling plays in the state.
“The Oceania Road Championships will establish Tasmania as a host state for international cycling events, placing an international spotlight on the Apple Isle,” she said.
“With many successful domestic cycling events already taking place in Tasmania, we are delighted that the Tasmanian Government is actively supporting the introduction of international cycling to the state.”
The time trial is expected be at Evandale – which has hosted the national penny farthing championships since 1983 –on Friday, March 23, followed by two days of road racing based at Railton.
Cycling Tasmania said the roads of Kimberley, Weegena, Dunorlan and Moltema “are perfect for road racing as they are challenging for the riders and picturesque for spectators while having low volumes of traffic and causing little disruption to local residents”.
It added that the event “will deliver exceptional value to Tasmania” across community, sport and tourism.
Based on previous participation rates, Cycling Tasmania anticipates more than 500 interstate and international visitors to the event with the economic benefit of this year’s junior road nationals valued at $600,000.
The Tasmanian Government has contributed $30,000 and Liberal Member for Bass Sarah Courtney welcomed the news.
“Northern Tasmania has some of the best road cycling conditions in the world and Cycling Tasmania should be congratulated on securing these titles and further enhancing Tasmania’s reputation for hosting world class events,” she said.
Tasmanian Institute of Sport cycling coach Matt Gilmore added: “For Tasmanians to get international experience can be a costly affair so to be able to get that in our backyard is fantastic.”
Tasmanians have enjoyed plenty of success at the Oceania Road Cycling Championships.
Hobart’s Madeleine Fasnacht won junior road race gold and time trial bronze in Canberra this year, going on to add another time trial bronze as one of four Australian medallists at the junior worlds in Bergen, Norway.
Hobart’s Cam Wurf won an Oceania time trial gold in 2007, Campbell Town’s Will Clarke and Bernard Sulzberger, of Flowery Gully, won time trial silver and road race bronze respectively in 2014 and Wurf added a time trial bronze in 2015.
Sulzberger’s sister Grace won time trial silver in 2013 and Hobart’s Campbell Flakemore won back-to-back under-23 time trial silver medals in 2013-14 en route to winning a world title in the discipline.
Held annually since 1995, the Oceania titles are run under the sanctioning of world governing body the UCI alongside titles in Asia, Africa, Europe and Pan-America.
The three-day event will include time trial and road races for elite, under-23 and under-19 men and women, seeing the crowning of 12 Oceania champions.