It was canceled due to Covid and then delayed due to blockages, but there was no way 2021 would end without hosting the 5th Bowral Classic cycling event.
It was worth the wait, what a classic it turned out to be. Australia’s original Gran Fondo event by bike, the Bowral Classic first took place in 2016 and has since led to several other sister events – the Clare, Noosa, Mudgee and Snowy Classics.
The thousands of cyclists at these events raised over $ 500,000 for charity, support the cycling industry and inject millions of dollars into regional economies.
From Friday to Sunday, more than 3,500 cyclists took to the scenic Southern Highlands for a freshly extended weekend of cycling action.
Sadly, the highly anticipated Dirty Bowral – a gravel ride / adventure scheduled for Saturday morning – was canceled due to soggy ground, swollen creeks and strong winds. This event will return to the program for 2022 as gravel cycling continues to flourish and the appetite for adventure cycling increases.
Red Hot Crit Racing
The quiet streets of Bowral came to life on Saturday afternoon as the first Bowral Crit began.
AusCycling handled the proceedings, Mike Tomalaris and Lee ‘Hollywood’ Turner were at the microphones, acclaimed cycling photographer Beardy McBeard captured the action and hundreds of fans – including Tour de France riders Brad McGee and Stephen Hodge were on the show. touches – it was an exciting afternoon of fast and furious bike races.
Local rider Ella Bloor of Specialized Women’s Racing put in an impressive effort to win the Women’s Division 1 race, while Edwin Britts of Universes Racing dominated the stiff competition to win the Men’s Division 1.
Sunday morning offered perfect cycling conditions as a sea of passionate riders lined up for the 150, 120, 85 and 35 km categories.
Some 3,500 people, ranging from top domestic pros to avid amateurs, set off in waves as former SBS Tour de France host and commentator Michael Tomalaris and the always colorful Lee ‘Hollywood’ Turner entertained and amused them.
Shot by Mike Tomalaris
Synonymous with sport, and among friends and fans who have been informed and educated by him for more than three decades, Tomalaris said that joy and camaraderie were two of his personal take-out from his first Classic.
“The atmosphere was amazing,” he said. “On Sunday morning, the main street was a sea of people, of colors, of swimsuits. “I had never been to a Classic before,” he continued. “It was my first. People were in a good mood, despite the early start everyone was buzzing. And that’s what cycling does, it creates joy and fulfillment – it brings everyone together. “
Thrilled with the Classics, Tomalaris said: “I had so many people come over and said how much they enjoyed the weekend. “
“I think what James Yaffa is doing is great,” he continued. “Europe has its Spring Classics and I really think the five-event series you have now has the potential to be Australia’s Classics series.”
A ride not a race, some enjoyed an easy 35km ride around town while others set a scintillating pace on the challenging 150km course.
Brendan ‘Trekky’ Johnston – a cancer survivor and former winner of the legendary Melbourne to Warrnambool race – was the first home runner in the 150km Maxi Classic class. He returned in less than 4 hours after an average of 38km / h despite the 2000m drop.
Samara Sheppard was the first woman to run the 150 km – she put in a very impressive top 10 with an overall time of 3 hours 57 minutes.
Take the riders to the regions
More than a major event for rural areas such as Bowral and the Southern Highlands, the Classics are boosting the Australian cycling industry, with many major players sponsoring and supporting the events.
Taking advantage of the hot Sunday sun, Toby Shingleton of Shimano Australia said it was wonderful to see so many riders having fun during the event weekend.
“It’s great to see so many people taking an interest in cycling,” he said. “And that’s what is driving this boom – people are putting their health and lifestyle first…. It was more important for people to go out and exercise and we have seen more customers than ever before, the sales are great and we are really optimistic about the future.
Bicycling Australia and the Bowral Classic would like to thank all cyclists, volunteer sponsors and supporters of the Bowral Classic 2021.
The runners’ schedules are now available on: https://bit.ly/3pMbHMB
Photos of the riders are available for purchase through RaceAtlas at https://raceatlas.com/?event=bowral-classic
The next series of Classics Gran Fondo is the Snowy Classic at Jindabyne in March. For all the details and to register, visit www.snowyclassic.com.au