2018 FedUni Road Nats: Buninyong but more

A new course and a new name, this is the FedUni Road Nats.

The calls for a change to the Mount Buninyong course get louder every year. The main criticism is the attrition rate of the race and the distinct style of rider who often takes the green and gold stripes. Repeating this route will always favour a particular style of cyclist and while the racing is far from boring, the course does have particular benefits – especially for us the spectators. The 2018 Road National Championships course thus uses much of what we love while offering what could be the beginning of bigger things to come.

It’s little wonder Federation University Australia wanted to take part, the race has been passing the Ballarat campus before FedUni even existed. The most anticipated addition was to the route, the 2018 FedUni Road Nats scraps  the high-speed Fisken Road descent in favour of a four kilometre detour through the campus. The quiet tree-lined terraces are undulating with a gradual descent until a series of corners before returning to Geelong Road and normal racing resumes.

Skeptics rest assured these alterations weren’t simply more promotion and sponsorship for FedUni, these changes were devised by race organisers including a review panel with Mathew Hayman, Pat Shaw and Kimberley Wells. The additional length will reduce the elite men’s lap count to 16 at 185.6km and women’s to 9 at 104.4km.  We’re yet to witness the results of the changes but word is they’re the start of bigger things to come over the next three years with FedUni’s deal.

More importantly Cycling Australia have announced a new U19 category for all events, and the inclusion of Para-cycling for Road and Time Trial events. The Para-cycling national champions will be decided on a custom course west of Ballarat on the country roads of Bo Peep near Lake Burrembeet.

The week will kick off on Wednesday, 3 January 2018, with a full day and night of criterium racing right in the heart of Ballarat. The 1.1 kilometre ‘hot dog’ circuit runs four blocks up and down the main street, Sturt Street, with u-turn at each end. On a tight street circuit and with races running into the evening it, the town is always a buzz of activity.

As usual there will be National Championship Time Trials, the Australian Gran Fondo Championships, and community events through the week, including a new Club Team Relay event. For more on amateur events read our preview.

The 2018 FedUni Road National Championships will take place from 3 – 7 January 2018 in Ballarat, Victoria.

Wednesday 3 January Criterium: U19, U23, Elite
Thursday 4 January TT: Para-cycling, Men: U19 & U23
Friday 5 January TT: Women – U19, U23 & Elite, Men Elite
  RR: Para-cycling
Saturday 6 January RR: U19, Men U23
Sunday 7 January RR: Women – U23 & Elite, Men Elite