Sydney olympic park was jam packed all day; some racing, others just riding along. As headline sponsors we were along for the ride.
What a day it was. Sunday 19 October. When Sydney turned it on for arguably the Emerald City’s biggest single day of road cycling in 2014. Together with the mass participation Bicycling NSW Spring Cycle and the gloriously retrospective Brompton Fold-Up Bike Australian Championship, more than 300 junior, senior and elite cyclists from across the Sydney region and beyond descended on Sydney Olympic Park for the inaugural Bicycling Australia Sydney Club Cup. Hosted by the Lidcombe-Auburn Cycling Club (LACC), the flat 1.5km course ensured lightening fast racing across the grades, punctuated by the added navigational challenge of two tight hairpins.
“The number and calibre of riders was beyond our wildest dreams,” said LACC’s Race Director, Nash Kent, who also heads up Park Bikes. “We had Jack Edwards, a dual Junior World Champion, and the reigning Australian Criterium Champion Sarah Roy chaperoning the Under 8’s around the course in the morning. Then from the Under 9’s to the Elites there were State Champions and more than 25 current NRS riders, headlined by 2013 Victorian Criterium Champion Shannon Johnson and the Law brothers, Scott from Avanti and Jackson. We were also lucky enough to have the ‘voice of NSW Cycling’ Paul Craft and a DJ adding to the electric atmosphere. The whole day was such a great advertisement for what cycling in NSW can be when clubs, authorities and riders all get behind it.”
As for the racing itself? It didn’t disappoint. In the Elite Women’s race Sarah Roy celebrated her recent signing with the Orica-AIS professional squad with a powerful display to take victory. While after 50 minutes of relentless racing, the podium in the Elite Men’s race was worthy of the Subaru National Road Series. A seven-man breakaway looked set to fight it out until the younger of the Laws, Jackson, 21, surged clear with just over one lap remaining, holding on for a fine solo victory ahead of the rapidly-closing Shannon Johnson. Scott Law rounded out the podium in third place.
“Major Open events like this are few and far between in Sydney,” said LACC President, Rod Turner. “With the sad demise of the Cronulla and Wollongong Criterium series, the Sydney Club Cup has, virtually overnight, assumed the mantle as one of the most important road cycling events in Sydney.”
Both Kent and Turner sang the praises of the Sydney Olympic Park Authority (SOPA), together with the sponsors and volunteers who made the whole event possible.
In my mind there is no better criterium course in NSW. With all the history of Olympic Boulevard and the Olympic Stadium right there as well, it just has such an aura. It reminds me a bit of the Champs Elysees in Paris.”
Rod Turner agrees. “The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. We’re already planning for the next one, and will certainly be working closely with SOPA, Cycling NSW and our fantastic sponsors like Bicycling Australia, Park Bikes and Bont to ensure it only gets bigger and better in 2015 and beyond.”