After an absence of many years, criterium racing has returned to Brisbane's Southbank.
In its prime, there used to be a series of prestigious criteriums held towards the end of the year involving locations such as Noosa, Brisbane Central (Southbank), and the Gold Coast.
It was always a good time of the year to go watch some fast racing around tight corners, with some big crowds. Particularly since Qld doesn't have a "big" cycling event such as the TDU in South Australia, these criteriums offered up the rare opportunity to see professional and amateur cyclists racing on local Qld streets.
QSM Racing / QSM Sports initially tried to get this event running towards the end of last year (2012). Unfortunately due to road closure issues, they needed to reschedule the event and change the location.
Thankfully the new "Brisbane Blast" event at Southbank was a great success, and in the words of women's Pro cyclist Carla Ryan... "Nice to support a local event. #BrisbaneBlast. Great to see racing return to Southbank. #letskeepitgoing." (from Twitter).
It was great to see a good turn out of women at the race on Sunday. Teams represented at the Blast included QSM Racing/Upper Limb/DWBH, Pensar/SPM, Crino Cycles, Campos, Data#3 and Koiled/UQ.
Like Noosa, there was some fierce racing and a few attempts were made by various riders at a breakaway. One breakaway group of 3 finally succeeded with Carla Ryan, Sam Hemsley and Jazzy Hurikino.
These girls toughed it out to the end of the race, and Sam Hemsley had the legs to outsprint Carla and Jazzy for the win. Hopefully the feedback from all the races is good enough to get this event going annually.