There was some good news for fans of Australian racing on Tuesday when it was announced that the Road National Championships for all categories will go ahead in 2021, albeit in a new, later calendar slot of February 3-7.
Following the announcements this week that the men's and women's editions of both the Tour Down Under and the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race had been cancelled – while it was announced in August that the men's and women's Herald Sun Tour races had also been cancelled – the news of the National Championships taking place at their usual venue in and around Ballarat, Victoria, will be welcomed by Australia's cycling community.
AusCycling – the new name for national federation Cycling Australia following the amalgamation of its six state bodies, along with the disciplines of BMX and mountain-biking – said in a press release that the championships taking place a month later than usual will "enable the safe delivery of a major regional event to the Ballarat region by optimising our COVID-19 planning and providing a safe environment for the community, competitors, and workforce".
It continued: "AusCycling has been working closely with the Department of Health and Human Services and the City of Ballarat to ensure that the championships will be conducted in a COVID-safe environment. Details of these plans will be announced closer to the championships."
AusCycling added that the road championships will follow the same format as last January's events, with all time trials on Wednesday, February 3, and the criteriums on the evening of Friday, February 5.
The road racing – on the familiar Mount Buninyong circuit – will see the under-23 men's race taking place on Saturday, February 6, and the elite/U23 women's road race and elite men's road race on Sunday, February 7.
"After such a challenging year, we are excited to be able to host the Federation University Road National Championships," said AusCycling acting joint CEO Steve Drake. "We look forward to the championships providing a positive impact for Ballarat and the cycling community as part of an exciting domestic summer of cycling."
City of Ballarat CEO Janet Dore added: "The City of Ballarat is committed to working with AusCycling to deliver this world-class event for Ballarat in February 2021 in a COVID-safe format that protects our community, riders and spectators."
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