COVID-19 is not derailing the plans to bring the Tour de France’s L’Etape Australia event to the Kiama and surrounding districts on 27-8 November.
“Under the current circumstances we are pushing back the release of the course and the opening of registrations to the end of May, to give ourselves and the authorities some breathing space before the registration process gets into full swing,” says Senior Event Producer and Director Florent Malézieux.
“L’Etape will be something to help kickstart the region’s economy after this is over.
“In Jindabyne [the event’s former home], $6.5 million of direct expenditure was generated by the 3000 riders and their companions.
“We are expecting at least 6000 riders to participate in the Kiama event, given its proximity to Sydney, so the returns will be far greater.
“With the fantastic scenery, steep climbs and fast descents it is going to be a really ‘must do’ event.”
The Bugle has been given a sneak preview of the route for the 138km Race will begin and end in Manning St, near the Festival Village in Coronation Park at Surf Beach.
The route will be closed to traffic in sections, to ensure the safety of the cyclists.
The Race, which also includes total elevation of 2700 metres, is expected to attract 5000 competitors and their families to the Illawarra/Shoalhaven/Southern Highlands region.
A shorter Ride, a mere 70 km with 1000 metres elevation, is expected to attract another 1-2000 entrants.
Mr Malézieux says training for the event can happen during isolation, with the assistance of apps.
The Festival Village will serve as the event’s hub, not only being the registration point but offering entertainment, stalls, a giant screen and more.
“We are very keen to get local businesses, schools and organisations involved,” says Mr Malézieux.
The event has a strong partner relationship with SBS, ensuring our region’s attractions will be seen by a wide audience.