THE decision to cancel this year’s Goulburn to Sydney Cycle Classic just weeks from the event is what riles Chris Berry most.
As Goulburn Cycling Club race co-ordinator and Goulburn Mulwaree Council’s general manager, Mr Berry is furious on two counts.
“They’ve (Cycling Australia) had all year to make a decision and to drop this on us virtually on the eve of the race is what disappoints me the greatest,” he said.
“I feel for the Macarthur Collegians Cycling Club organisers. They’re all hardworking volunteers and have worked with club officials, the council, police and traffic authorities diligently down here since the Classic restarted in 2005.
“It’s been a positive relationship – and now this. It’s a major blow and you wouldn’t blame them if they walked away.
“It’s a major blow too for club riders, riders who aren’t part of elite (National Road Series) teams. The Goulburn lads will be quite upset by this because it was a year-long goal for them.
“The event was a big positive for Goulburn too ... not just from the riders being here, spending, but it gave the city great exposure.”
Rider Troy Herfoss, who would have led the Goulburn elite squad in the Classic, said he and his teammates were gutted by Wednesday’s announcement by Cycling Australia.
“We’ve been aiming for this event all year ... we’ve had local businesses put in money to sponsor the team and this was the race where they would have received the most exposure,” he said.
“Now that opportunity has been taken away and we didn’t even get to have a say.
“I find it hard to understand the decision by Cycling Australia to cancel the event on safety grounds when the course hasn’t really changed and no rider has been seriously injured since the race re-started (in 2005).
“That road (the Hume Highway) is probably the safest part of the race “The ironic thing is all these (NRS) riders are happy to train in fast bunches of 100 or more in Melbourne and Sydney where there are no road closures or traffic control.
“Their teams and sponsors allow them to ride in these conditions, so can someone please explain to me the difference?” Cycling Australia CYCLING Australia CEO Graham Fredericks said his organisation will work with stakeholders to “maintain the history and spirit of ‘The Goulburn’ into the future.”
“I want to acknowledge the Macarthur Collegians club, major sponsor Paradice Investment Management and Cycling NSW, who have all worked extremely hard to support this race. I thank them for their understanding and share in their disappointment,” he said.
“The Southern Highlands provides some challenging road racing opportunities right on Sydney’s doorstep.
“We will continue to work with these groups to try and maintain the history and spirit of ‘The Goulburn’ into the future.”
“IT’S disappointing to hear of the cancellation of this year’s Goulburn to Sydney Cycle Classic,” Member for Goulburn Pru Goward said yesterday.
“This is one of the truly iconic sports events within NSW, each year attracting hundreds of riders from around the State and beyond, and I have had the pleasure of waving the riders off in previous years.
“While the safety of riders taking part in this race is paramount, I hope that the organisers and Cycling Australia can reach an arrangement so next year’s Goulburn to Sydney can go ahead and resume its rightful place in the Australian sports calendar.”