26 June 2024

Operational costs blamed for cancellation of 2025 Snowy Classic cycling event

| Edwina Mason
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Snowy Classic

In a bitter blow to the Snowy Monaro community and Australian road cyclists, the increasingly popular Snowy Classic event has been cancelled due to fixed operational costs. Photo: Bicycling Australia.

The Snowy Mountains will lose a little of its international dazzle next year after event organisers canned the 2025 Snowy Classic road cycling Gran Fondo.

The March event has been a fixture since 2022 and marks the third in a series of Classic events to bite the bullet in recent years.

The largest annual cycling event on the region’s annual tourism calendar, the Snowy Classic has been one of the few major off-season sporting events in the alpine region experiencing exponential growth.

The decision has been chalked up to increasing fixed operational event costs including traffic management and policing of the event.

“They’re just huge rising costs that continue to rise year on year,” said event director Vanessa Burges. “Basically, safety is our number one priority, and we have a reputation for running a safe event, and it’s certainly not an area we’d cut corners on.

“It’s not just cycling that these operational costs are impacting, it’s any mass participation events where key stakeholders are talking to government about staging outdoor events.”

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Making its debut in 2022, the Snowy Classic is one of five major European-style Gran Fondo cycling events offered in Australia, collectively called The Classics and organised by Bicycling Australia, all set in optimal tourist destinations within two hours’ drive of major metropolitan cities.

The Snowy Classic, said Vanessa, offered stunning off the beaten track scenery and the opportunity to ride two challenging routes on fully closed roads.

Unlike other cycling events limited by their focus on elite riders, a singular charity or family day out, their all-inclusive platform catered to riders of all levels, all charitable causes and openly encouraged community and corporate involvement.

The Snowy Classic now follows the Noosa and Clare Classics in being dropped by organisers in a blow to participants, many of whom took part in the event for the first time in 2024 and were planning return trips.

“We’re just so sad for the community and the region and because the Snowy Classic was a little bit further away from key centres it meant people who travelled for the event stayed in the area for those few extra days,” Vanessa explained.

“This includes teams of cyclists who have travelled from as far afield as Queensland annually and corporate teams who have built team building holidays around the Snowy Classic,” she said.

The Classics’ 2024 Gran Fondo cycling event involved more than 2000 cyclists and supporters who gathered at the Jindabyne start line, before embarking on their 110-km Challenge Classic or 170-km Maxi Classic through some of the region’s most stunning regional towns including Berridale, Dalgety and Perisher Valley.

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Both courses included the infamous short, sharp and brutal Beloka Climb, more commonly known as “The Wall” – one of Australia’s most feared and revered cycling climbs, which gains 300 metres of elevation in just three kilometres.

The event injects more than $1.4 million into the local economy each year, with accommodation providers, retail outlets, bars, cafes and restaurants benefiting from the influx of people during the region’s off-season.

“We also make a donation to say thank you to the community contributing to their local fundraising efforts and I know that sort of contribution has made a difference to many small groups, so we’re really sorry we’ve had to make this decision,” she said.

Classics founder James Yaffa joined Vanessa in expressing deep regret at having to cancel the 2025 event.

“This decision has not been made lightly,” he said.

The Snowy Classic represented the best of Australian road cycling conditions, a special environment that was widely acknowledged and accepted by road cyclists here and overseas, he said.

Mr Yaffa has extended his gratitude to the riders, Destination NSW, Snowy Monaro Regional Council, and the amazing volunteers and community at large who have embraced the Snowy Classic and made it so special.

“I’d also like to thank The Classics and Bicycling Australia staff, contractors, suppliers, local media, and many individuals who dedicated so much time in making our event so special.”

Riders registered in the 2025 Snowy Classic will be contacted and processed a full refund onto their original form of payment.

The Classics will continue to host the Bowral Classic (20 October) and Mudgee Classic (3-4 May, 2025) cycling events.

Snowy Monaro Regional Council was contacted for comment, but none was forthcoming.

Original Article published by Edwina Mason on About Regional.

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