Cycling Australia has this afternoon confirmed that the 2013 Paradice Investment Goulburn to Sydney Classic will be cancelled. The 170km one-day race was set for September 15 and is a historic fixture on the calendar, raced for the first time 111 years ago.
As reported on Tuesday by Cyclingnews, five of Australia's top teams threatened to boycott the event if their demands for a rolling road closure were not met. After 24 hours of intense negotiations between Cycling Australia, race organisers, teams and New South Wales Police, no compromise could be reached.
Contention over rider safety on the Hume Highway had sparked debate given the reluctance of New South Wales Police to issue a full rolling road closure on the national carriageway. An alternative had been raised with teams agreeing to race on parallel back roads, but New South Wales Police were unwilling to provide a full rolling road closure for this option.
In a statement provided by Cycling Australia, CEO Graham Fredericks said the local police authorities have been very supportive.
"The police have worked closely with the organisers and Cycling NSW and were confident they could ensure a safe passage up the highway for the riders. However, there are still inherent risks with a single lane rolling road closure, which are even more pronounced on one of Australia’s busiest highways."
"In the end, despite every effort from the organisers, the race could not comply with CA's safety standards."
Questions must now be asked regarding the fallout of the Goulburn to Sydney cancellation with financial ramifications felt by race sponsors, teams and local businesses particularly at the race start and finish. Cycling Australia was made aware of the team's demands in January at the annual road forum and yet, with less than three weeks until race day, negotiations only days ago came to a head.
"Unfortunately, it is late notice," admitted Fredericks. "But to be honest, this is one of our heritage events and the oldest race on the calendar, so we were determined to explore every possible option to allow it to proceed."
Established in 1902, the Goulburn to Sydney is the oldest bike race in the state of New South Wales and a part of Australian cycling history. Also known as the Goulburn to Camden, the Goulburn to Sydney has enjoyed a rich history surviving two world wars and the continued expansion of Sydney's outer suburbs.