Huge velothon event kicks off in Coast cycling showcase

THE Sunshine Coast's transformation into one of the country's cycling Meccas has begun.

The tents are up in Cotton Tree Park, the bikes are greased, and the Lycra is primed ready to go.

Riders of all ages and skill levels will roll out onto the region's roads for the first time this afternoon to launch the inaugural Sunshine Coast Velothon.

Stage 1 of the three-day Velothon will officially kick-off at 6.30am on Friday morning from the Buderim Wanderers Football Club.

Cr Jason O'Pray launches the inaugural Velothon cycling event on the Sunshine Coast with Athlete services department volunteers, Bindi Balazs and Rachael Morris.
Cr Jason O'Pray launches the inaugural Velothon cycling event on the Sunshine Coast with Athlete services department volunteers, Bindi Balazs and Rachael Morris. Patrick Woods


Organisers are expecting almost 1000 riders to compete in the three-day and one-day cycling events this weekend.

Sunshine Coast Councillor Jason O'Pray said it was a one-of-a-kind event in Australia and one which the Sunshine Coast was proud to host

.ROAD CLOSURES: Where to avoid during 4-day velothon

"It's a new event not only to this region but for the southern hemisphere," he said.

"Our reputation as a major event destination has absolutely sky-rocketed over the past 18 months, in fact this is one of the reasons we are hosting the Velothon, because we've done other events similar to this so well."

Would you like to see more Coast-based cycling events?

This poll ended on 20 July 2017.

Current Results

Yes - promoting health and tourism on the Coast is great!

55%

No - it's dangerous to have them on the roads.

36%

As long as motorists and cyclists are both safe and happy

8%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

He said cycling was one of the biggest growth sports in Australia and expected the Velothon to be a great boon for the region's enthusiasts as it returns again in 2018 and 2019.

"Cycling for the Sunshine Coast is going to absolutely explode when we get this event of the ground this weekend and then we have another two years where we can really grow and get this event to be one of the biggest in the country," he said.

Mr O'Pray believed it's not just great for the cycling enthusiast but tourism and small business too as the cyclists and their guests take in all that the region has on offer.

Cr Jason O'Pray launches the inaugural Velothon cycling event on the Sunshine Coast.
Cr Jason O'Pray launches the inaugural Velothon cycling event on the Sunshine Coast. Patrick Woods

"The economic benefit that we will obtain from this is huge," he said.

Sunshine Coast Velothon regional director Rebecca Van Pooss said the event would traverse roads as far south as Caloundra, Beerwah and Beerburrum and head as far north as Coolum and Eumundi.

Cyclists will also head out west to Kenilworth.

"Anyone that's coming up will actually get a really good showcase of the whole of the Sunshine Coast and those beautiful hinterland areas," she said.

She said the event was open to all skill levels with some riders looking to challenge themselves over the three days while others simply looked to get out and have some fun.

She believed it would easily become a go-to event each year for riders across the country.

Regional Director Velothon Sunshine Coast Rebecca Van Pooss.
Regional Director Velothon Sunshine Coast Rebecca Van Pooss. Patrick Woods

Councillor Jason O'Pray was also quick to alleviate the community's concerns surrounding road closures and said they were "part of the gig" when hosting major events.

"The overwhelming majority of this event is under road rules so that means the roads are open and there are a small amount of road closures," he said.

"When we host the triathlons and marathons and the like we have small road closures for small amounts of times.

"It is a bit of an inconvenience for people at times but I think the overwhelming majority of people are accepting of it and understand the importance of these events for the region and the dollars that they bring and they just cop it."