In the spirit of Australian multiculturalism, Cycling Queensland has announced the inaugural Giro di Brisbane criterium on Sunday, November 13. The one hour race will form part of the Italy 2005 Festival in the northern Australian city, with a top quality field competing for a prize purse of $18,500, including a $7,500 Battaglin bicycle.
"The three kilometre course is a technically challenging ride, but with 85 high calibre cyclists taking part I am expecting it to be fiercely contested," said Wendy Sanders, CEO of Cycling Queensland. "Those people who have only ever watched a race on TV will be pleasantly surprised at how exciting races are in real-life - the atmosphere will be electric. Not only will this race help to promote and extend the appreciation of cycling, but it will also help to put Queensland on the map for major sporting events.
One of the favourites is New Zealand-born Jaaron Poad, who is in top form following his win at the Noosa Criterium last weekend. "It would be a very satisfying win especially considering that riders are coming from all over the place to contest it," said Poad, who is currently racing in New Zealand. "I'm hoping to lead from the front and keep the pace fast in order to steer clear of any accidents."
World Champion team pursuit rider Ashley Hutchinson will also contest the Giro di Brisbane. Hutchinson has just returned from Moscow, where he was a member of the gold medal teams pursuit team at the World Cup. The Brisbane based rider is also strong on the road, winning several stages of the Tour of Queensland over the last two years.
Several women, including Hannah Banks, a member of the Australian Institute of Sport road squad, are also expected to challenge the pace.
Adding even more serious horse power will be a parade of Ferrari, Maserati and Lamborghini cars - and Scootopia scooters for the more fuel conscious - which will start the race at 3:40pm with a lap of honour.
The circuit course begins at the Abruzzo Club and winds through Fursden Road, Ellen Street, Kate Street, Preston Street and turns on Meadowlands Road.