With more than 500 starters expected on August 13, this year's Ride for Life in Sydney's Centennial Park is sure to exceed last year's event in all areas. According to one of the main organisers, Phill Bates, the response from the cycling public has been huge, and the interest from corporate groups should make it an all-round great day of cycling after some tough times recently for the cycling community in Australia.
Bates said "the event has developed very well from last year, and from the point of view of increased rider numbers and increased corporate interest, it looks like being a really strong event."
With Olympic medallist Steven Wooldridge making an appearance (albeit in the recreational ride) after his serious crash earlier this year, it's definitely a stellar lineup, with overseas-based riders making the trip back home and bringing plenty of class to the event. There's also a lot on offer for the juniors too, with interest in this area increasing massively since last year. A strong men's Elite field, with riders such as Ben Kersten and Shaun Higgerson will contest the 70km race, and over 150 junior riders will race in State Championships for the Under 17, 15 and 13 age divisions.
Add to this hundreds of entries for corporate and recreational rides, and support on the day from St George Bank, Allens Arthur Robinson, and headline sponsor Trust, and the 2005 Ride for Life will give Sydney a real taste of premier criterium racing. Bates praised the assistance of the State Emergency Service and Rural Bush Fire Brigade for their offer of performing crowd control duties before and during the event. He was also pleased with the response from people on the announcement half the day's entrance fees will go to assist the AIS Women's team after their accident in Germany, with people donating money specifically to the cause.
Although there are no late entries allowed for the Junior Championships and Elite men's race, riders can still go to www.rideforlife.org.au and download an entry form to participate - just fax or mail the form to those listed on the site and turn out on Saturday. On the day there will be a gold coin donation for all cars entering the Centennial Park, with the general public encouraged to attend what should be a huge celebration of cycling.