RoadNats 2022: All the action from the Sturt Street criterium | The Courier

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The big crowds returned to Sturt Street for the national criterium cycling championships, treated to a feast of prime-time sprint action. The AusCycling Road National Championships is in full swing across the city, with residents making the most of a perfect day for a picnic and watching the cyclists duke it out. There were a few new surprises, like a mini pedal-kart course for the kids, as well as the welcome return of the bars in the gardens – it was certainly a day for it. Riders faced hot conditions after fears of rain early, with a headwind towards the finish line into the sunset – each lap of the criterium course is a 1.1km loop of Sturt Street, from Lyons down to Lydiard. And that Lydiard Street corner, down the bottom of the hill, is notorious – there were a few crashes but no major injuries. AusCycling’s executive general manager for sport Kipp Kaufmann said it was promising to see the increased numbers, both in the crowds and in the competitors. “Everyone’s actually out having a good time, in a really safe manner, and I think people are excited something’s going on, it’s driving them towards the local businesses,” he said. “We actually have more riders this year than we’ve ever had, which is incredible under COVID, as more riders might have been having to isolate or had chosen to stay in Europe. “It shows there’s continued growth opportunities for the championships – it’s also pretty exciting that the criterium’s being broadcast internationally for the first time, that’s a big boon for Ballarat.” This weekend, the action moves to Buninyong, for two days of road races – that’ll mean loops up the challenging Mount Buninyong course. Saturday will be for the paracyclists and under 23 men – also being broadcast for the first time – and Sunday, the elite and under 23 women and elite men. Check out the weekend’s road closures below, and keep an eye on The Courier for more updates all weekend, with results in sport. UPDATE 6.55pm: The elite men are on course, fighting it out across Sturt street to take home a national championship. They’ll complete 40 laps of the 1.1km course, with its punishing uphill finish into the sunset. Earlier, Olympian Ruby Roseman-Gannon took out a thrilling sprint win in the elite women’s race, with councillor Samantha McIntosh waving the chequered flag. The sun is relentless, with a slight breeze giving riders a headwind up the hill. Ballarat rider Nick White, who finished second last year, is right in the mix. EARLIER: Crowds are continuing to build as the RoadNats’ Friday night sprint showcase continues. Despite a lack of rain, there’s still been some dramatic crashes at the notorious Lydiard Street corner – the elite and under 23 women are about to finish their 35 laps of the Sturt Street course. For the crowd – far bigger than last year – shade is in high demand, with a lot of people taking the opportunity for a picnic, and hospitality venues along the strip opening up all the way to the track. The return of pop-up bars and ice cream trucks has been welcomed, with the new addition of a pedal-cart racetrack for the kids. The elite men’s race is now underway after Ruby Roseman-Gannon won won the women’s event. Warrenheip Street, Buninyong, will be closed between Eyre Street and the Midland Highway until 9pm Sunday. All other roads will be closed between 7am and 7.45pm Saturday and Sunday. Check the RoadNats website for more details. Have you signed up to The Courier’s variety of news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that’s happening in Ballarat.



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