Olympians return to Olympic course in Sydney

Olympian and Commonwealth Games champion Ben Kersten, missing out on competing in Beijing Games...

Olympian and Commonwealth Games champion Ben Kersten, missing out on competing in Beijing Games following the elimination of the kilometre time trial from the Olympic Games program, will now compete in the Ride for Life at Centennial Park as his comeback race on Sunday 17 August.

Kersten, after missing the final selection to China in a race off against Shane Kelly, has been recuperating from a back ailment and will be using the race around Centennial Park to focus more attention on his road cycling career.

The Wollongong flyer and triple world junior champion will be a little short on race condition, but the new 1.9 kilometre circuit in the centre of Centennial Parklands should be well suited to the track star that has claimed numerous titles throughout the world.

Kersten, who represented at Athens and then defeated two Olympic champions to claim the Commonwealth Games kilometre title in Melbourne in 2006, is undecided as to which race to contest – the featured Aces event over 36 kilometres or the corporate race over 24 kilometres.

Ben said "I would obviously have preferred competing in Beijing but I am a founding ambassador of the Ride for Life along with Athens Olympic Games gold medallist Steve Wooldridge and it will be good to compete on part of the 2000 Olympic course."

Kersten will receive plenty of encouragement from Wooldridge, who has retired from international racing after winning four world titles and Olympic title, who will officially start the race, four years after having won his Olympic gold. The Corporate race is taking on a Tour de France look with teams from CSC, Halifax/Saxo Bank, Shimano amongst some of the starters.

The event is pretty much the biggest promotion for cycling in NSW with not just professional races, Olympic champions involved in a variance of races, the corporate event as well as a family fun ride at 2pm on the closed course completing the day.

A big feature on the day will be the Bicycle Trade show featuring 20 of Australia's leading suppliers displaying the latest equipment in a free show to the cycling enthusiasts. The entertainment is also of great quality with the Navy Jazz band and John Morrison Swing City the featured bands on the day and with jumping castles, face painters and magicians – it will be a great day for the family. Food and refreshments will also be available.

The Ride for Life, sponsored by Trust Company, has been staged for the past four years, is an event that plays host to leading cyclists of NSW and Australian road cyclists, corporate cyclists and this year a Tafe relay challenge event and has raised in excess of $200,000 for the Prince of Wales Oncology.

The Cancer centre has been dedicating the funds to a survivorship program for cancer survivors, a way of improving quality of life after treatment. Professor Michael Friedlander, the head of Prince of Wales Cancer Centre, will be donning the lycra to take part in the ride and has been full of praise for the funds raised.

The Ride for Life was initiated by Rick Christie, a lawyer that is a cancer survivor and he has been joined by others keen to enhance recovery for those that have suffered from this disease. The race launch at Parliament House attracted 290 people, raised a further $45,000 for the Prince of Wales Oncology and was attended by Hon Reba Meagher, Minister for Health and Hon Kevin Greene, Minister for Community Services.

For further info contact Phill Bates AM, 0419127189 or email pbates@cycleclassic.com.au

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