THEY MAY look sugary sweet, but these girls are here to put up a fierce competition in the Bundaberg Sugar Caneland Classic, which kicks off today.
The two-day cycling competition has drawn cyclists from all over the state, including the Bundaberg Sugar-sponsored Sweet As women’s cycling team.
Team manager Dave Mohr said member Simone Grounds had won the classic for the past three years in a row, but would be sitting this year out because she was pregnant.
“She’s still coming anyway, to watch and support the other girls,” he said.
“It’s fantastic, we love coming to this event.”
Mohr said the team always liked coming back to Bundaberg and competing in the classic.
“There is such a rich cycling heritage in Bundaberg,” he said.
“It’s the perfect balance of city and country.”
The Classic will be contested over two days, with the Super Criterium on a 1km street circuit within the airport precinct today and a road race over 70km, starting and finishing in Childers, tomorrow.
The Sweet As team will have six girls competing, including Trish Palmer, who has never ridden in the event before.
“I’ve heard really good things from other people,” she said.
“The Bundaberg Cycling Club put on a really good event.”
Palmer said the team had checked out the criterium yesterday and said it looked like a good place to compete.
“It’s got a really good wide road and a hot mix (bitumen) and a few little corners that will be challenging,” she said.
“The handicap road race is always really challenging as well, and the course is nice and undulating.”
Ms Palmer said the team would be looking to defend their team-mate’s title.
“We have a record to defend and Simone can’t do it this year,” she said.
“We’re here to make sure it stays among us Bundy Sugar girls.”
Bundaberg Cycling Club secretary Jason Templeman said the event had been running for about 50 years.
“We have riders coming from all over the state,” he said.
“Everybody is welcome to come and have a look.”
The event will kick off about 1pm today with the first race marshalled at 1.50pm.
“It’s a good, open track you can see the whole way,” Mr Templeman said.
Nominations for the Sunday road race will begin at 7am with the race starting at 8am.