Worlds warm up event announced

Big names will ride in Ballarat before 2010 world titles

Victorian Sports Minister James Merlino today launched the Herald Sun World Cycling Classic Ballarat as a warm up event for the 2010 UCI Road World Championships, which will be held in Geelong, Australia, September 29 - October 3.

The new event, to be held on September 26, was announced today by the Minister plus City of Ballarat Mayor Judy Verlin and Melbourne 2010 Organising Committee General Manager Michael Palmer.

Starting and finishing at Buninyong, the course will travel a 16km circuit with the final lap following the road race course used for the Australian Open Road Championships.

"Cycling in Ballarat continues to go from strength to strength and the Herald Sun World Cycling Classic will reaffirm the city’s position as a world-class venue for road cycling," said Merlino.

"The Brumby Labor Government is proud to support major sporting events that place our regional centres in the national and international spotlight, promote sport and boost tourism."

The Herald Sun World Cycling Classic Ballarat will feature an elite women's and combined elite/under-23 men's race and pending the number of entries from World Championship participants additional invitations may be issued to elite riders and registered continental and pro continental teams.

Of the race itself Palmer said, "The course has been designed to ensure that it is not too tough, but still provides a solid hit out and an opportunity for riders to acclimatise to Australian conditions. Having the final lap on the testing nationals circuit will give them a taste of what to expect in Geelong the following week."

Cycling Australia CEO Graham Fredericks is excited about the prospect of additional racing from the world's best riders in Australia. "The Herald Sun World Cycling Classic Ballarat is not only a bonus for the cyclists preparing for their World Championships campaign but for fans who will have an added opportunity to see their heroes in action," he said.

For more information about the 2010 UCI Road World Championships visit www.melbourne2010.com.au.

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