Media Release   20 October 2014


Phill Bates Sports Promotions regretfully advise that the NSW Grand Prix Cycling Series will not be staged n 2014.  The series was initiated in 2010 off the back of a very successful Cronulla International Grand Prix, staged since 2006 to give some positive promotion following the riots of 2005.

The series attracted some of the biggest names in professional cycling with the inaugural series in 2010 conducted at five venues- Bathurst, Parramatta Park, Gosford under lights, and then Coogee and Cronulla with international teams from Russia, USA, New Zealand and the UK contesting the event.  It was well supported by Destination NSW and sponsors as well as all supporting Councils and Parramatta Park Trust and Network Nine provided two hours of national coverage on both Saturday and Sunday.

A reduced budget restricted the Series to just two venues in 2011, Wollongong and Cronulla with both Councils providing incredible support to ensure that the series was staged on two of the most spectacular racing circuits in the country and Network Nine did not disappoint in highlighting the magnificent backdrop of Cronulla and Flagstaff Hill, Wollongong.  The series in 2012 and 2013 was also staged at the same venues, Wollongong and Cronulla.

Chris Sutton, the Team Sky star and a Caringbah local had won the first two Grand Prix series with Commonwealth Games gold medallist Rochelle Gilmore winning the inaugural women’s series.  World U23 Road Champion Michael Matthews won the series in Rabobank Colours in 2012 and Caleb Ewen, the silver medallist in the U23 won for Orica GreenEdge last year.  Sophie Williamson from NZ took the 2012 whilst last year World Champion from Germany Charlotte Becker took the title.

Phill Bates AM, on of the longest serving sports administrators/promoters in the country is disappointed that funding was not available to maintain the support of the series.

In 2013, the decision to proceed with the Grand Prix did not occur until just three weeks prior to the series and it was becoming apparent then that the Government was going to have great difficulty in maintaining support for the event.

Bates said “To stage a successful international series it was imperative to have far greater lead time and with no funding guaranteed we have no alternative but to cancel the 2014 series.”

Phill Bates was however grateful for the support of the NSW Government, especially Destination NSW that sought Bates to expand the Cronulla International Grand Prix cycling into a full blown series in 2010, despite having just over two months to achieve an excellent outcome.

It appeared that exciting times were ahead with international cycling returning to NSW following the demise of the internationally acclaimed Commonwealth Bank Cycle Classic, staged over 20 years and concluding in 2000 and the Women’s Tour de Snowy and World Cup - both also staged by Bates from 1998 to 2002.

Bates also wanted to express his gratitude to Cronulla MP Mark Speakman and Mayor Kent Johns, who both attempted to gain support for the series as well as Oatley MP Mark Coure.

Bates said “I could never be more grateful to the many aspects that constituted a great series over the years and hopefully the series will not become just past history.   Sutherland Shire Council and Wollongong City Council, the Councillors, former Ministers of Sport and Minister for Major Events - Steve Crawley and the commentators from Network Nine, 2GB, especially Alan Jones, The Leader Newspaper, The Illawarra Mercury, other media outlets and the many supporting sponsors and volunteers.”

Bates added “However the biggest appreciation is the support from some of the biggest names in Australian cycling who have visited and supported the event and series. Virtually every major Australian professional star has contested the series and they helped make it a wonderful spectacle and promotion for the sport of cycling.”

Bates was also grateful to NSW Cycling and the officials for their support, Cycling Australia and UCI, with the series having been listed on the World Calendar for the first time for 2014.

Further information:   pbates@cycleclassic.com.au   Phill Bates AM   0419 127 189