After a six-year hiatus, a pair of local St George riders took out the major races on offer at the Cronulla International Cycle Grand Prix, as elite-level racing returned to the streets of Sydney on Sunday, December 17. But what took so long?, muses Gerard Knapp.
Cronulla resident and Rabobank professional (and St George club member), Graeme Brown won the elite men's race, while fellow St George club member and AIS scholarship holder, Kate Nichols, took out the elite women's race, going two better than her father, Kevin (a gold medallist in the team pursuit at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics) who took third in the hotly contested masters category.
The locals were keen impress, as for many it was the first time they had actually raced in front of their friends and family in their neighbourhood. Despite being home to some of the world's top pro cyclists, Sydney cycling fans have been starved of opportunities to watch their local heroes race almost anywhere in the harbour city, apart from some club-level criteriums and rounds of the track cycling World Cup held at Dunc Gray Velodrome.
The last time Sydney hosted a major road cycling event was the 2000 Olympic Games, but since those glory days, a combination of political factors - such as prohibitively-high police-support costs - had kept serious, elite-level racing off the streets of the harbour city.
Read the full Cronulla news feature.