Horsham Cycling Carnival gets rolling

THE Wimmera's biggest day of cycling the Horsham Cycling Carnival will kick off at the Horsham velodrome on Friday.

Once again, the Horsham competition will be the first leg of the Cycling Victoria Christmas Carnival.

The carnival takes place over four consecutive days in regional Victoria, with meets in Horsham, Bendigo, Shepparton and Wangaratta.

More than 120 riders have signed up for the day, including some top Australian and international riders.Carnival organiser Geoff Witmitz said Horsham Cycling Club was pleased with the number of entries and talent in the field.

"There's an international Irish rider named Eoin Mullen who's coming down this time who is a track sprinter and he's elected to do this over the Tasmanian series," he said.

"He's ridden a 10.6 second lap on a 250-metre track which means the Murray Lehmann Fastest Lap might take a tumble, which would be the first time in a number of years actually.

"It's going to be a fairly action-packed five or six hours."

There are 42 events on the race program including three state title events.

Some of the highlights will include the M15 Victorian Scratch Race Championships, the open men's Victorian Elimination Championship, the Ian Niblett Memorial Wheelrace, the Murray Lehmann Invitational Fastest Lap and the women's Victorian Elimination Championships.

Wimitz said there would be a very competitive field of juniors for the under-15 state championship from Canberra, Victoria and South Australia. He said the fields for most of the races were the most even they had ever been.

"What we're finding is the quality of the fields is very even and the racing is a lot better," he said.

"You're not getting all the A to Z guys, you're getting a good composite and a good mix and even with the senior racing, there's a good component of under-19s through to masters and elite."

Flying the flag for Horsham at the carnival will be Sam Witmitz.

He has raced in Europe and at Australia's national championships and will return to his home town to compete.

Geoff, his father, said Witmitz loved returning to Horsham.

"Sam's coming back because it's his home carnival and he hasn't been on the track that much, but he's going to give it a bit of a dip because he's hoping to get himself up to speed to do the Bendigo marathon," he said.

"He's using it as a bit of a break to support the club and its events but also to get himself a bit of a go on the track."

Racing starts at 2pm and entry is free for all spectators.

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