How good is this time of year? After spending two awesomely festive weeks riding ourselves, we can sit back and enjoy a string of world-class Aussie cycling events, one after another after another. But there is one thing I don’t love: the fact that the most picturesque, populous and touristed city in the land is left to watch it all on TV, mostly on delay. It doesn’t make any sense.
NSW boasts several fine provincial one-day races, steeped in history. Goulburn to Sydney and G2I, for instance. But nothing in the capital city itself. Why doesn’t Sydney have a major professional race each year? It has a spectacular diversity of terrain. It has hoards of obsessive cycling fans and a burgeoning club racing scene. It has big business, many chief executives of which are keen cyclists themselves. Oh, and it also has an Olympic pedigree.
Despite all this, the best Sydney gets each year are a few crits, the state track titles and a charity ride to Woollongong. I’m sure there are thousands of reasons why this is so given by people far smarter than I, but it still seems crazy to me. Logistical challenges? So what? Every major sporting event this side of Alpha Centauri has logistical challenges. Cycling is booming in this country. BOOMING!!! Yet its biggest city is starved of even NRS level racing. Why?
Surely, Sydney is the perfect place to stage a major cycling event. A one-day race would be good. A stage race would be even better. Similar to what riders love about the Tour Down Under, where they’re able to use Adelaide as their base for the entire week’s racing, Sydney provides the perfect hub for a spectacular 5 or 6-day parcours. Just off the top of my head, how about this for a race schedule…?
Stage 1: (prologue) Sydney Olympic Park under lights
Stage 2: Parramatta to Pokolbin via Brooklyn and the Old Pacific Highway
Stage 3: Palm Beach to Manly via McCarrs Creek Road and Akuna Bay
Stage 4: Richmond to Lithgow via Bells Line of Road then back to Katoomba
Stage 5: Cronulla to Woollongong via Audley and the Royal National Park
Stage 6: (ITT) Sydney Opera House to Bondi via Centennial Park, with the winner crowned on the beach.
It would be a stunning advertisement for NSW Tourism. And a bloody awesome race. I’d take a week off work and go every day, that’s for sure. And hopefully there’d also be a charity sportif so I could ride a stage or two as well. What do you think? Maybe it’s high time Bazza O’Farrell and Cycling Australia sat down for a bit of a chat. Or even better, a ride……