Tiffen Cycling Team leader Matthew Rizzuto says the decision to take the National Capital Tour off the National Road Series circuit makes Canberra’s young cyclists “the ones to beat”.
Cycling Australia is committed to bringing an NRS event back to Canberra but the capital will go without one this year, meaning a number of elite riders won’t appear at the National Capital Tour.
Rizzuto says falling out of the NRS might actually be a good thing for cycling in Canberra in the short term because of the opportunities it will provide the next generation.
It opens the door for Canberra’s next crop of talent to follow in the footsteps of Paris Roubaix winner Mathew Hayman, three-time world Champion Michael Rogers and Tour de France Green Jersey winner Michael Matthews.
Rizzuto boasts a seemingly endless list of wins this year alone but that means if a young rider can zoom past him they are certainly on the right track.
“You don’t have too many opportunities to have a crack at a really competitive stage race without having to travel a fair distance to other states,” Rizzuto said.
“It’s really good for Canberra and for this region in cycling. There’ll still be NRS level teams and riders, but it just won’t have as many as it usually would.
“Definitely a whole lot more local riders than can usually do it [are in], so it’s great for Canberra. In the past it’s been part of a national road series, so it’s always been a very competitive field.
“We’ve gone really well when it’s part of the National Road Series, but this year it’s not part of it. It’ll still be a competitive field but I think we’ll go very well.”
The Tiffen Cycling Team will have eight riders in the National Capital Tour looking to clinch a victory on Canberra’s premier road cycling event on September 23-24.
Tiffen team member Stephen Blackburn won the Canberra Tour in 1989 and is jumping on the bike in a bid to “keep the young riders honest”.
The event will be held on closed roads over three stages and wraps up with a mountain top finish on Mount Majura.