Junior Tour’s – The Challenges

Posted: June 23, 2015 in News, Opinion, Road
Tags: , ,

One of the discussion points from the ‘pits’ at the Shepparton Junior Tour was about CA’s new junior policy of no prize money.  There was a mixed reaction, especially as entry fees for many junior tours have increased, along with all the associated costs of getting there, accommodation, etc.

Prize money has been at the heart of this sport since way back when.  That’s why it was very much a blue-collar sport with riders able to earn more winning bike races than working an unskilled job.  My niece, a high level swimmer, was always blown away with the money my kids used to win in cycling, when all she got was medals and ribbons!

No prize money at Wagga JT but there'll be great racing, medals and big smiles guaranteed.

No prize money at Wagga JT but there’ll be great racing, medals and big smiles guaranteed.

So is the move to no prize money for junior racing a good thing?

I think it is. This weekend’s Wagga Junior Tour will spend circa $5000 on traffic management and another $1000 on electronic timing.  While it won’t award prize money the podium finishes will walk away with medals and the winners will take home jerseys.  All of this on revenue of $40 average per rider for 130 riders.  They need sponsorship just to break even!

I won’t be at Wagga this year, but it is one of my favourite junior tours.  Four quality stages (even if the crit around the go-kart track is technical and involves right hand turns, which riders seem to struggle with!) and terrific organisation.  The two road stages offer opportunities for all sorts of riders and I love that it finishes with a time trial, meaning riders who aren’t strong TT’ers need to gain time in the early stages, which in turn leads to aggressive racing.

On Wagga: they’re still chasing volunteers for lead/follow cars, so if you’re going and can help them out, please contact president@waggacyclingclub.com.  Being in a lead or follow car gives you a whole different perspective of the race and an amazing warm and fuzzy feeling for volunteering.

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