Coming up: Australian Schools Cycling Cup

The inaugural Australian Schools Cycling Cup will be taking place on April 23, 2008. The field for the new event, which is designed to engage schools in a team dedicated cycling event, has been filled and a waiting list is accumulating.

Event director, Susan Stewart, looks forward to being able to build on the interest for future years. "Being a brand new initiative, I kept the first year reasonably small (150 participants) to ascertain the level of interest out there," she explained. "However, I've been really pleased at the enthusiasm from the schools and have already filled the places for the event."

Stewart and her partner David McKenzie planned the event since their return from Europe after McKenzie's retirement from professional cycling. "I noticed a big gap in the style of racing that was being promoted in Australia," Stewart said. "Cycling is very much team-focussed in Europe, where as here, aside from the big races, it was mostly individual. Although that is changing, I thought a good place to start was with the schools."

The event will emulate the categories of big tours with a yellow, green and polka dot jersey and will be conducted solely as a team event with no individual honours. Still, every team member must contest an individual time trial and a road race, while three team members will then complete a teams' time trial.

"There is a lot of strategy and tactic in teams racing and it is a great opportunity for kids to understand and compete in this style of racing," technical manager McKenzie highlighted. "The racing is tough and the kids have to be able to compete across a range of disciplines. The event is deliberately structured to ensure all team members must contribute to the team unit. We all know Lance Armstrong as an overall winner, however, it is good for students to start to understand how a team supports the team leader to get into a winning position."

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