Riders in the Masters Criterium last year.
Riders in the Masters Criterium last year. Ron Miller

Criterium criteria is to go fast

FOR many, cycling is something you do after your knees give out from too much running.

That is how Ipswich Cycling Club president Geoff Stieler puts it anyway.

But for some, cycling is a far more competitive venture.

And they will get their chance to shine during the Ipswich Festival Criterium on Saturday.

Semi-professional riders from as far north as Townsville will make their way to Ipswich this weekend, to test themselves on the brand new 1.2km criterium circuit at the Ipswich Cycle Park at Raceview.

"Criterium is an off-road race - road races have a greater complexity with traffic control and such, whereas this is in a controlled environment," Stieler said.

"It's a high-intensity race where we race to time rather than distance. A-Grade will race over an hour, and the juniors probably around 20 minutes.

"It's full guns blazing the whole time, and because it's a smaller circuit it's very spectator friendly."

The Elite A main event, beginning at 1pm, will host a field of 25 of the best cyclists in Queensland averaging over 45km/h.

"The standard is very high," Stieler said.

"It's first over the line wins. You race in a bunch, and there's tactics to it. It's a cat and mouse game of who can conserve energy the best.

"Will you risk trying to break away from the pack and blowing up, or sit with the pack and wait for the end, if you think you're a good sprinter?"

Saturday's event will be the first major inter-club event on the recently completed criterium circuit, and Stieler is excited for what the future holds.

"Previously we were doing this in conjunction with the Ipswich Hospital Foundation through the centre of Ipswich," the president said.

"The foundation are supporting us as well in this.

"Now we've got an off-road track, we're really pushing to get juniors involved. We know it's important to get them out and exercising. We have coaching clinics starting immediately."

Race Day

Saturday (7am - 3pm) - Ipswich Festival Criterium at Ipswich Cycle Park, Briggs Rd, Raceview.

Masters C & D (7am) to Masters B (2.10pm). Elite A (1pm).

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