Cycling strong in Victoria: Expert 

CYCLING Victoria handicapper Laurie Norris believes Horsham Cycling Carnival and the Cycling Victoria Christmas Carnival could see an influx of more top riders in coming years.

The Horsham Cycling Carnival starts today at the Horsham Velodrome from 2pm and is the first race of the Victorian carnival series.

The Victorian series has competed with Cycling Tasmania’s Christmas series for the best national and international riders each year.

While many top riders choose to race in Tasmania, Norris said the Apple Isle’s series might be in trouble.

“I see a bright future for our Christmas carnivals because we have a lot of opposition from the Tasmanian Christmas carnivals but I think they’re on shaky legs a bit,” he said.

"We have a lot of opposition from the Tasmanian Christmas carnivals but I think they’re on shaky legs a bit"

“If the Tasmanian ones falter at all, we’ll pick up extra numbers so I see a pretty rosy future for our series.”

The Horsham carnival will have more than 120 riders.

Norris said this year the Tasmanian series had a new promoter, who asked him to leave Cycling Victoria and become Cycling Tasmania’s handicapper.

Norris said he refused, choosing to stick with the Victorian series.

“I’m told he’s only going to be a promoter for one year, which shows he’s not really in it for the long run,” Norris said.

“They’re also promoting criteriums over there along with the track races, which shows me that he’s not just committing to the track races, and the races that have been feature races might end up becoming secondary races to the criteriums.

“I’ll be very interested to see what happens next year.”

A criterium is a short-course cycling race often run on closed-off city streets rather than a track. The Victorian carnival series only includes track races.

Norris said Cycling Victoria was still happy with the fields for its carnival series despite the Tassie opposition.

He said Irish national rider Eoin Mullen and Wimmera cycling star Sam Witmitz would be two of the main drawcards.

He said Horsham’s junior fields were particularly strong, with several junior state representatives set to compete for the under-15 Victorian Scratch Race Championship.

Horsham Cycling Club member Geoff Witmitz said the day always produced a strong sense of satisfaction for the club’s members.

“It gives us an opportunity to showcase the sport of cycling in Horsham and have a broad range of athletes from across four states coming and one Irish rider, who rode well at the last world cup meeting,” he said.

“It is important for us and we’re a small team that works hard to get things done.”

Witmitz, who has raced in Europe and at Australia’s national championships, said the track was in excellent condition and was ready for racing.

Entry to the Horsham Cycling Carnival is free for spectators.

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