Simon Gillett, the widowed husband of professional cyclist Amy Gillett, has called on all recreation cyclists to join him and some of Australia's top cyclists for a ride on the Australia Open Road Cycling Championships course this Sunday morning. The Ride with the Champions will be led by Simon, a two time world rowing champion, and Olivia Gollan, who will be joined by a host of other top professionals to help raise money for the Amy Gillett Foundation.
"There's a couple of messages in this," Simon told The Courier. "The first is it's a rare chance to rub shoulders with the elite riders, both men and women, bearing in mind some of the women are former team mates of Amy.
"They are genuinely the best in the world, so it is not just a trumped-up group," he added. "It includes former 2003 national champion Olivia Gollan, Olympic Champion Sarah Carrigan, Commonwealth Games silver medalist Rochelle Gilmore, 2004 World Cup champion Oenone Woods, Natalie Bates and Kate Bates.
Simon's late wife Amy was tragically killed in a training accident after she and five other riders from the Australian women's team were hit by a car during a training ride in Germany in 2005. The Amy Gillett Foundation is aimed at increasing road safety awareness between cyclists and motorists.
"This event was started last year with the Ballarat City Council supporting it," added Simon. "I wanted to support the people who were involved in that. Last year there were several hundred riders involved and I expect to see a similar number this year."
The ride gets underway on Sunday, January 13 at 8 AM. Participants will have the opportunity to ride the challenging 10.2 km Open Road Cycling circuit or the 28 km Time Trial course.
Cyclist of any level wishing to take part in the event can register at www.visitballarat.com.au for a cost of $30 AUD, with all proceeds going to the foundation.