The Bay Crits have ridden their final lap

The season-opening Bay Crits will not return, leaving the Australian Summer of Cycling one event poorer.

2023 men’s elite field led by Luke Plapp along Ritchie Boulevard, Geelong. (Photo by Con Chronis)

Iain Treloar
by Iain Treloar 04.05.2023 Photography by
Con Chronis
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The Bay Crits – a long-standing opener to the Australian Summer of Cycling – will not be returning in 2024, with race organisers announcing today that the series has come to a permanent end. 

“The financial and logistics issues we have absorbed now over an extended period of time [which] have become simply too prohibitive to continue, with a significant increase in costs again this year,” race organisers said in a press release.  

Over the years, the series – held on the first weekend of January, typically making it the first high-level racing of a new year’s road calendar – attracted a field of domestic and international talent, acting as a vital tune-up to other major events in the Australian summer: the National Championships, the Tour Down Under, Cadel’s Great Ocean Road Race, and the Herald Sun Tour.

That packed calendar was, however, cited by event organisers as a factor in the Bay Crits’ demise, with the series often commencing on New Year’s Day to accommodate the other events. “This has made it challenging for many riders and fans, especially those coming from interstate, to participate,” said event organisers. 

“These factors have increased to such an extent that it is completely uneconomic and unrealistic to get to the start line next year.”

Held almost every year since 1989, the Bay Crits helped launch the career of some of Australia’s most talented riders. Past winners of the series include Robbie McEwen, Caleb Ewan, and Chloe Hosking. The Bay Crits were postponed in 2021 due to COVID, along with  virtually all other events in the Australian summer calendar, before returning for two last editions. The winners of the race’s swansong this year were Brenton Jones (now retired) and Ruby Roseman-Gannon (Jayco AlUla).

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