2012 marks the 110th anniversary of the historic New South Wales event, the Goulburn to Sydney Cycle Classic, and the occasion has prompted the race organisation to tinker with the exisitng race format. The opening day prologue, which has featured in the last two editions of the race, has been removed in favour of a stand alone criterium.
The prologue format had come under some criticism over the last two years, with the time differences collected in the time trial proving crucial to the overall winner. This angered purists because it shaped the 'classic' as a stage race, and from an NRS points perspective devalued the stature of the road race.
"The day preceding ‘the Goulburn’ – instead of the prologue, we will run a criterium around the centre of the township of Goulburn," read a statement from the organisation. "This criterium will have no effect on the result of the road race and will act as a standalone event.
"Wilson Asset Management has come on board as major sponsor for the criterium around Goulburn city centre. It will be situated in Goulburn CBD on wide, smooth streets, and we hope the race will attract large crowds and a spectacular festival-like atmosphere that will act as an appropriate precursor the 110th edition of the Goulburn to Sydney (Camden) Cycle Classic."
A second positive change is the allowance of team cars in the convoy, echoing the change made by Grafton to Inverell last year. However, due to safety and NSW Police requirements, it is necessary for two teams to occupy each car so that a maximum of eight team cars only are in the race convoy.
As the oldest cycling race in NSW - and one year older than the Tour de France itself – ‘the Goulburn’ is now a critical leg on Cycling Australia’s National Road Series, attracting the best cycling talent in Australia.
Numerous previous winners have gone on to turn professional in Europe and ride some of the worlds’ biggest races, including 2008 winner Will Clarke and 2011 winner Nathan Haas.