Open attracts talent

WORLD champion Jack Edwards, and Oceania and national champion Josie Talbot headline a talented array of cyclists in the Illawarra Track Open on December 14-15.

Hosted by the Illawarra Cycle Club at the Unanderra Velodrome, the event runs in conjunction with the NSW Country Track Cycling Championships.

The carnival follows last Sunday's NSW Grand Prix Cycling series in Wollongong.

Sydney rider Edwards won gold medals in the men's omnium and team pursuit at the 2013 UCI Junior Track World Championships in Glasgow in October. He was NSW Institute of Sport Junior Athlete of the Year and the Cycling Australia Junior Rider of the Year.

Talbot won the under-19 national Omnium and the Oceania road championship and at the Junior Worlds in Glasgow with the Australian team, gained bronze in pursuit.

The Illawarra Cycle Club Open carnival attracts a large number of riders from under nines through elite to masters of both sexes, and offers $2000 prizemoney. It includes feature men's and women's wheel races, while the NSW Country Championships are offering $2000 prizemoney provided by Wollongong City Council as well as Cycling NSW medals.

A highlight of the two-day cycling extravaganza will be a celebrity match sprint between Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery and one of the club's up-and-coming seven-year-old riders.

Entries for licensed members of Cycling Australia are open at nsw.cycling.org.au, and spectators are welcome. Free entry for spectators.

Meanwhile, the NSW Grand Prix Cycling series in Wollongong featured rising star Caleb Ewan stamping his name on the Australian cycling scene with a thrilling overall victory.

The 19-year-old took an early lead in the opening leg of the series in Cronulla on Saturday, beating pre-race favourite and training partner Chris Sutton in a photo-finish.

The former Illawarra Academy of Sport athlete then backed it up in Wollongong.

He finished second to fellow young gun Jack Beckinsale in a fast thriller at Flagstaff Hill.

Rochelle Gilmore's Wiggle Honda team also celebrated its first birthday in style by sweeping the NSW Grand Prix series in Wollongong.

New addition Peta Mullens was first across the line at Flagstaff Hill a day after teammate Lauren Kitchen took out the first leg of the series in Cronulla.

German teammate Charlotte Becker finished second in both races to take out the overall series ahead of Kitchen, with Mullens's victory propelling her to third place overall and a sweep for the Wiggle Honda team.

In other divisions, a late fall denied Illawarra Cycle Club rider Mark Jewell his maiden NSW Grand Pix masters title.

Jewell had justified his pre-series favouritism with a win in the first round at Cronulla on Saturday and looked likely to back it up in Wollongong on Sunday before his heavy fall on turn one late in the race.

The fall allowed Stewart Campbell to draw level with Jewell in the overall standings and knocked him into second place on a countback.

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