Hundreds of cyclists will take to the roads of the Snowy Mountains in March 2022 as a new road-racing event is added to the cycling calendar.
Organised by Bicycling Australia magazine, the Snowy Classic will be the fifth event in the Australian ‘Classics’ series that also includes gran fondo (‘big ride’) races in Bowral, Noosa, Mudgee and Clare.
The event is expected to position itself as the ‘Queen of the Classics’ when the inaugural event kicks off on Saturday, 26 March, 2022.
It will inspire an influx of cyclists to Jindabyne and the picturesque Snowy Mountains, and bolster the tourism-dependent region that has suffered because of COVID-19 restrictions in recent times.
The Snowy Classic will offer riders alpine climbs and European-style cycling.
There are three race options for participants: the 170km Maxi Classic (The Race), 170km Maxi Classic (The Ride), and 110km Challenge Classic.
The race’s route isn’t confirmed yet, but there will be rolling road closures throughout the day of the event. Participants will start and finish along Kosciuszko Road in Jindabyne.
NSW Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said the NSW Government is proud to support the Snowy Classic from 2022 until 2026, with the event expected to inject $4.16 million into the state’s economy during the five-year period.
“We know the regional visitor economy is critically important to the wellbeing of NSW, which is why the NSW Government is supporting the Snowy Classic over five years to build a strong following and make it an annual must-attend event for cyclists, their families and friends,” he said.
Mr Ayres expects visitors to be “blown away by the stunning scenery and excellent tourism and hospitality offerings of the region”.
Founder of the Snowy Classic and Classic Series events, James Yaffa, is excited to see the popular gran fondo format expand and become part of the region.
“The Snowy Mountains precinct is simply stunning and offers so much for road cyclists,” he said. “We are super excited to officially launch the inaugural Snowy Classic,” he said.
With regional areas experiencing challenging times for several years now, Mr Yaffa said the core objective is to deliver a fun and safe event while helping the Snowy region deliver much-needed tourism and ongoing brand marketing.
Jindabyne local Lachie Harrigan is an avid cyclist who rides in the Jindabyne Cycling Club. He describes the mountains as his “favourite place to ride”.
“Between the bushfires and COVID-19 during the past two years, Jindabyne businesses have been battling,” he said. “But locals are very excited for this event and are super accommodating to riders.”
Seasoned Classics rider Gareth Downey, from the ACT, says he’s never taken his bike to the Snowy Mountains before but is looking forward to the challenge.
“People usually associate the Snowy Mountains as just being a place for winter sports, but it’s a brilliant place in the warmer months,” he said. “Fly fishing, camping, cycling – there is so much to do.”
Australia’s biggest cycling event, L’Étape Australia, was cancelled last year due to COVID-19.
The race is the only official Tour de France event in Australia and the largest of 20 such L’Étape events held outside of France. Run on fully closed roads across a beautiful and varied course with three challenging climbs, it passes through coastal and highland terrain, visiting villages in the Kiama region, Shoalhaven and the Southern Highlands.
Registrations for the Snowy Classic are now open. Participants in the 170km Maxi ride must be aged 16 and above, while those in the 110km Challenge must be aged 12 and above. E-bikes are permitted in both races.