Cycling Australia's track national championships begin this week.
Trust me they do!
But sadly if you live, or have been staying anywhere in the vicinity of
Adelaide (as I have since the end of the Santos Tour Down Under), you'd
be excused for thinking the titles are being held in another land far,
Just four days after one of the most gripping editions
of the TDU, watched by an estimated crowd in excess of 750,000 across
seven days, you'd expect cycling's national governing body would seize
the opportunity to remind South Australians there's another huge event
being held in their city.
But after scanning the local newspapers
and surfing the various commercial TV networks, I can genuinely report
this is not the case.
Since Simon Gerrans and GreenEDGE crossed
the finish line triumphant last Sunday, the stream of visitors to the
TDU immediately returned home to all points around the country.
The network of roads that grace this wonderful cycling haven between the
city's nearby hills and coastline have also been returned to Adelaide's
rightful owners. Cyclists here may be fewer in numbers now but they just as passionate about pushing pedals.
Yet, having spoken to many cycling supporters and recreational riders
in the days since the final stage of the TDU few, if any, outside of the
sport's local fraternity realised that a four-day track carnival
featuring a host of stars is being held in their own back yard.
I can't understand why, this is a market yearning for more after experiencing all that the TDU had to offer.
Whether it be on the road, in the velodrome or on the MTB and BMX dirt, Australia is curently blessed with world championship
cycling talent and the track nationals is no exception.
the names - Kaarle McCulloch, Anna Meares, Shane Perkins, Jack Bobridge,
Michael Freiberg, Michael Hepburn, Luke Durbridge and Rohan Dennis.
Each have each been awarded UCI rainbow jerseys at one-time-or-another
during their respective careers and all will grace the boards at the
world-acclaimed Adelaide Superdrome this week.
and Olympic champion Meares is a national treasure, while the likes of
Perkins, Bobridge, Durbridge and Hepburn are likely gold medal
contendors at the UCI Track World Championships and the London Olympic
Look at Rohan Dennis. Here is a youngster who not only
cleaned up in the under 23 time trial and road events at Ballarat, but
also rode with distinction at the TDU.
If anyone is going to "make it" it's this wonderful prodigy from the suburbs of Adelaide.
Cycling Australia rightly scored many bouquets for its handling of the recent road national championships in Ballarat.
The viewing ratings for SBS''s breakthrough live coverage exceeded
expectations and the names that graced our TV screens on that occasion
reminded us how fortunate Australia is on the professional road circuit.
Why can't the same marketing and promotion be prioritised for the track nationals?
Do national authorities constantly need to be reminded that Australia's
track heritage is filled with rich history dating back some 100 years? I shouldn't think so.
Ticket sales for the UCI Track World
Championships in Melbourne over Easter already suggest a sell-out, vocal
crowds will attend.
Adelaide will host the Australian Swimming
Championships which double for Olympic qualification and although they
are still six weeks there's already an air of anticipation.
Come on Cycling Australia lift the profile of your event and your sport!
Raise the awareness of the talent you have at your disposal, it's in
the interest of Australia's sporting public and the cyclists who do the
Shout it out loud, tell the mainstream media and make aware to the casual cycling fan what you have on offer.
There would be nothing more cringe-worthy than turning up to a
half-empty Superdrome at a time when our track athletes deserve much,
will have LIVE coverage of the final two nights of the Cycling
Australia Track National Championships on 28 and 29 January from 7:30pm,
SBS TWO and online.