Kelly along for the ride
Olympic medallist Shane Kelly is savouring his first- ever visit to Bundaberg to help promote the long-anticipated Bundaberg Cup.
The five-time Olympian will not appear at the starting line of Kevin Brogden Memorial Velodrome but has agreed to take on an ambassador role with the Bundaberg Cycling Club.
The Bundaberg Cup on wheels will return next month after a seven-year hiatus after a renewed commitment from the Bundaberg Cycling Club.
Kelly will cast a keen eye on emerging talent at the event after retiring from professional riding after his Beijing Olympics campaign two years ago.
“I won’t be riding but I’m looking forward to the race all the same,” he said.
“There’s going to be some pretty competitive riders racing so it will be interesting to see who emerges on top.”
Kelly grew up in the small rural community of Ararat in Victoria and cut his teeth as a junior at grassroots events like the Bundaberg Cup.
“These sorts of competitions were an important part of my development,” he said.
“Without competitions like this the sport would not be where it is today.”
He said the cup’s resurgence had caused a stir of excitement in cycling circles with riders ready to begin a new era of the premier Bundaberg competition.
“It’s events like this that breed champions,” he said.
“There’s quite a bit of excitement about it and I’m looking forward to getting up there and being a part of it.”
Also appearing at the event will be European tour campaigners Allan and Scott Davis and former World Junior Champion Miles Oldman.
Kelly hoped the professional cyclists would help encourage a strong turn-out for the event.
“A lot of hard work, passion and dedication has been given to make this event happen and I hope people get behind it and support it,” he said.
Kelly said a shift of focus from track racing to road competitions in recent years made the event unique.
“Track racing has been suffering for a number of years because of a lack of numbers and events such as this so it’s great to see another tournament emerge,” he said.
The Bundaberg Sugar Cup will be held December 10 and 11 as part of the 4BU Cycling Spectacular.