The 2020 Australian Road National Championships are set to be decided this week, with Cycling Australia [CA] and the event organisers carefully monitoring any fire danger with the authorities, as well as monitoring the air quality to ensure the athletes' health.
Australia's bushfires continue to burn in large parts of the states of New South Wales and Victoria, with the championships taking place in the latter. In South Australia, the organisers of the Tour Down Under have announced that the men's and women's stage races are still set to go ahead, despite fires in the Adelaide Hills.
"CA and Event Organisers have been in regular contact with the CFA [Country Fire Service], Victoria Police and Ballarat City Council with regards to the risk of bushfire in the region, the air quality situation, and the weather forecast," read a statement from the national championships race organisation on Monday.
"The situation will also be monitored by the Event Control Centre on-site each day of the Championships. Any and all decisions regarding the event will be guided by the advice and information obtained from the above discussions with participants and stakeholders to be provided with updates as required," it read.
"Event Organisers will be testing the air quality with reports to be received twice daily and will also take advice from the official medical supplier and race doctor," it continued. "Currently, planning does not demonstrate any hazardous Air Quality Levels during the event."
The national championships take place in the towns of Ballarat and Buninyong, just over 100km north-west of Melbourne, in Victoria, beginning on January 8 with the time trials for various categories, including the elite women and men's races.
The national criterium championships then take place in central Ballarat on Friday January 10, with the elite women's and men's road races being held on the final day, on Sunday January 12, starting and finishing in Buninyong.
Providing the championships do go ahead, elite time trial champions Luke Durbridge and Grace Brown (both Mitchelton-Scott), elite criterium champions Brenton Jones (Canyon dhb) and Rebecca Wiasek, and elite road race champions Sarah Gigante (Tibco-SVB) and Michael Freiberg (ARA Pro Racing Sunshine Coast) are all due to attempt to defend their 2019 titles.