The UCI has sanctioned a series of category 3 cycling events to be held at the Latrobe, Launceston and Devonport Christmas Carnivals. The sanctioned series is the result of months of negotiations between the Sports Carnivals Association of Tasmania and the UCI, with the support of both Cycling Australia and the Australian Institute of Sports Cycling Unit.
"Whilst the Association is delighted with the approval it had applied to conduct category 2 events but has been advised by the UCI that it is policy in the first year to only approve category 3 or 4 events," read a release from SCAT. "An application for category 2 events may be made in following years depending on an assessment of how this year's event is conducted."
The events to be held this year will include men's sprint, keirin and teams sprint and possibly a women's points race. All events will carry qualifying points for the Beijing Olympics and organisers hope to attract up to 30 international cyclists for this year's events.
Australian Institute of Sport Cycling Head Coach Martin Barrass confirmed on Monday that the AIS would send a team of five sprint cyclists to the event, all of which are members of the Australian Track Sprint Squad. Organisers believe the cyclists will be Shane Perkins, Shane Kelly, Scott Sunderland, Daniel Ellis and Ben Kersten.
SCAT will need to attract squads from another three countries to compete in the event, with four competing nations required to satisfy the category three status the event has been granted. "Due to the lateness in receiving our approval this will be difficult but the Association is confident it can be achieved," read the release. "Assistance is being provided by the AIS with the Association forwarding offers to compete to a number of countries."