Tweed may become cycling mecca
A BOLD vision for the Tweed to create the biggest cycling event in Australia was revealed yesterday.
And it is just one of five annual events planned to put the region on the map in terms of mass-participation sports-tourism.
Next year, QSM Sports will stage two triathlons in Kingscliff, add a “Gran Fondo” public ride to is the existing Battle on the Border cycling festival and turn its Casuarina Cup Touch Tournament into a multi-sport “Tweed Games”.
With Gran Fondo added to the five-day cycling festival, Mike Crawley, of GSM says it may become the biggest cycling event in the country.
He hopes names like Cadel Evans, Robbie McEwen may put the event on their calendars.
“Our goal is to try and get Cadel here for a Battle of the Border,” Crawley said.
“If we run this thing properly, we should pick up lots of stars.”
Emma Snowsill is also a hopeful for the triathlons.
“She will at least be invited and subject to her itinerary, I think she would at least come along.”
“People like that, definitely.
“We would love to have them come.”
Crawley said semi-professional cyclists from across Australia would journey for Battle of the Border, as well as the most talented juniors in the country, as the race has been sanctioned as the Under 19 Road Cycling Championships.
“They will be here for their champs and world selection as well.”
But the events are not just about elite athletes, it is about getting amateur athletes involved and drawing people to the region.
Mr Crawley said demand for social participation events was “massive”, with the public crying out for opportunities to have a go at marathons, triathlons and cycle racing.
Crawley hopes there will be spectacular growth in all the events - Gran Fondo may attract up to 10,000 social bike riders within 10-years.
“I believe that significant economic growth is achievable and sustainable where sporting events are carefully managed and the enjoyment for participants and their families is the goal.
“Income will be generated in tourism and other businesses through the increase in visitors and the spending associated with theses kinds of sporting events.”
The events were officially announced at Kingscliff yesterday with Tweed Shire Mayor Warren Polglase and Tweed Tourism General Manager Phil Villiers in attendance.
Mr Polglase said the Tour Down Under in Adelaide, which started 10-years-ago was now one of South Australia’s most successful tourism events.
“Kingy Tri, Casuarina Cup and Battle of the Border cycling will provide great opportunities for Tweed Tourism well into the future and it is the combination of fun sporting events, lots of new visitors and opportunities for locals to participate that has attracted enthusiastic support so far,” Cr Polglase said.
“The finer details of these sporting events in 2010 are subject to approval, but it is great that QSM Sports have reached the stage of announcing these major sporting events and the start of registrations before Christmas”. Mr Villiers said Tweed Tourism members were excited about the plans.
“I am hoping this will lead to a 10-year partnership with QSM Sports as these marquee sporting events will significantly boost tourism business across the Tweed.”
The new events create a great calendar of sport for Tweed residents in addition to the bi-biennial World Rally Championship and the New South Wales Surf Life Saving Championships. QSM Sports is also expanding its Casuarina high performance base camp next year, adding an additional 200 places for athletes in its live-in training camp.
It will also support up to seven emerging talent cycling athletes in each junior age group.
The Kingscliff Triathlons will be held in March and September. Battle of the Border will be April 29- May 3, with Gran Fondo on May 2.
The Tweed Games, incorporating the Casuarina Cup Touch Tournament will run from February 19-21.