Major cycling events planned for the Snowies

THE Snowy Mountains region's peak tourism body, Tourism Snowy Mountains (TSM), has confirmed it is in discussions with Cycling Australia to bring rounds of Cycling Australia's Subaru National Road Series and Subaru Australian Mountain Bike Season to the Snowy Mountains area from 2014.

In a joint statement released by Cycling Australia's Commercial Director, Michael Edgley, and Tourism Snowy Mountains' CEO, Peter Sheppard, it was revealed that the two groups, along with a number of local stakeholders and committees, have been working together to deliver two nationally recognised events in Snowy Mountains each year commencing in 2014.

The plan aims to secure a national stage road race, The Tour of Snowy Mountains, and a national mountain bike event, Snowy Mountains MTB Olympic Challenge, part of the Subaru Australian MTB Season. The events are planned to be held in the region's low seasons immediately following winter and summer holiday periods and are dependent on raising funds to underwrite the events over four years.

Cycling Australia's Michael Edgley says the region is a spectacular venue for elite road racing and mountain biking.

"The challenging terrain and high altitude of the Snowy Mountains region is unique in Australia and creates the perfect racing environment for both disciplines. The scenery is breathtaking and will deliver fantastic media coverage across Australia and around the world. This is the biggest cycling event program ever planned for the Snowy Mountains region and will create significant economic and promotional benefits," Mr Edgley said.

Mr Sheppard believes cycling events of this calibre can play an important role in stimulating growth of the local visitor economy.

"Road cycling and mountain biking are growing rapidly around Australia and around the world with increasing numbers of participants. Aligning with Australia's peak cycling body will ensure that Snowy Mountains becomes an iconic tourism destination for cyclists and mountain bikers of all standards year-round," he said.

"If we can secure these major events, they will bring over 5,000 competitors, spectators and officials annually to the region over two weeks each year, filling beds, restaurants, shops and servos in our low visitor periods. Preliminary estimates are pointing to a direct economic benefit of over $5 million a year for the region.

"Through Cycling Australia's exclusive SBS programming, Australia-wide coverage of the events would be achieved. This national television, digital media and PR footprint would showcase the region and its biking facilities like never before, drawing year-round cyclists and mountain bikers to the area.

"Events such as these have demonstrated ability to acceleratetourism growth outside peak periods and are an important catalyst in the long term development of the Snowy Mountains destination."

Chairman of TSM, David Sheldon, says businesses across the region would gain major benefits from these events.

"While in the early planning stages, The Tour of Snowy Mountains would travel over 600 kilometres throughout the region, potentially visiting Cooma, Adaminaby, Talbingo, Tumut, Batlow, Tumbarumba, Khancoban, Thredbo Alpine Village and Jindabyne.

"While Jindabyne and Thredbo, with national standard facilities and large accommodation stocks, would host the Snowy Mountains MTB Olympic Challenge, trails and facilities in the region's four shires would be cross-promoted."

Tourism Snowy Mountains and Cycling Australia are currently exploring options for the event programs and are in negotiations with Destination NSW and private sponsors to achieve the funding required in hosting the events.

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