MORE than 160 of the best riders from across NSW and the ACT will converge on the city on Saturday for the highly-anticipated Wagga Golden Wheel Carnival.
Hosted by the Wagga Cycling Club, the annual event is set to pit top class interstate athletes against the Riverina’s own home grown talents.
Among the riders expected to contest the carnival’s feature event, the open Gold Wheel competition, is Dubbo sensation and Australian Champion Andy Taylor.
While Andy is heavily-favoured to take out the premier title, he is expected to face a strong challenge from star Wagga rider Jamie Green.
“Andy just won the Australian Keirin title at the recent National Track Championships in Sydney,” Wagga Cycling Club secretary Rob Housden revealed.
“He will probably start on the scratch mark, but 20-year-old Jamie Green won’t be too far ahead.
“He was part of the New South Wales team that broke the Australian record at the Cycling Australia National Track Championships.”
Green and Taylor are tipped to be among the 20 riders who will qualify for Saturday night’s Golden Wheel final.
“There should be a good mix of top riders from all around NSW, as well as two to four local riders qualify for the final,” Housden said.
“Both male and female open’s and under 19 year’s riders will have the chance to compete in the heats of the Golden Wheel, which is a 2000 metre handicap event.”
Wagga rider Simone Alexander was yesterday ear-marked as one of the female riders to watch to at the championships, while juniors Emily Bruce and Cody Green are among the young riders hoping for success.
“We are really lucky to have a lot of very good junior riders,” Housden said.
There will be 15 divisions contested during the carnival, with the youngest competitors competing in the under 9 years category.
Competition will commence at 5.30pm on Saturday, with the Golden Wheel final likely to race between 7.30pm and 8pm.
The Golden Wheel is one of Wagga Cycling Club’s biggest events on the calendar, alongside the city’s Classic Road Race.
TALENTED TRIO: Wagga Cycling Club riders Joseph Cole, Will Francis and Joben Smith take a break from training for Saturday’s Golden Wheel. Pictures: Jacinta Coyne
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