By Mal Sawford in Ballarat
Australian Cycling Grand Prix director John Craven closed proceedings at a gala dinner in Ballarat last night with the promise "that what started today in a small way in Learmonth will, believe me, become the next big thing in Australian cycling!"
A new addition to the Tattersall's Cup series alongside the established tours of Gippsland, Murray River and Tasmania, the three event Australian Cycling Grand Prix culminates with the Victorian Open Road Championships road races on the Buninyong circuit – which hosted the Australian Open Road Championships from 2002 to 2004.
Craven's Caribou Publications has also secured the rights, in conjunction with the City of Ballarat, to return the Australian Championships to Buninyong in 2007, 2008 and 2009, but Craven has his sights set even higher.
"The Australian titles are back where they belong in Buninyong, which will be known as the home of the Australian Open Championships," Craven said "and maybe one day the home of the World Championships!"
Craven believes that the 10 kilometre circuit which features a mixture of uphill climbs, fast winding downhills, stunning views and well maintained roads is the premier road circuit in Australia. On the Buninyong circuit, with the combination of his enthusiastic and determined team, and the support of local and state government, he believes he could stage a World Championships equal to any held outside of Europe.