YEARS of blood, sweat and tears to get Wagga's Multisport Cycling Complex up and running will end when the facility hosts its first race on Tuesday night.
Tolland Cycling Club will host a 30-lap criterium at the Pomingalarna-based facility, a pre-cursor before it again takes centre stage on the opening day of the Tolland Open this weekend.
The $9.2 million project was completed last month and Wagga Council has already stated its desire to attract state and national level events to the facility.
But it will be the locals who will get to use their shiny new toy first, and Tolland Cycling Club president Will Silver said it's a landmark week for the sport in the city.
"We're pretty excited to get out there tomorrow and get the guys and girls to get amongst it," he said.
"It's a prelude to the weekend to see how the track is going to run, and how we're going to run the event for Saturday.
"I'd say it's probably been in the planning for upwards of five years. It's been a long time coming."
The facility has been completed just in time to unveil a new-look Tolland Open format.
Generally two road races are held, one on Saturday and another on Sunday, but a criterium will be held instead on Saturday.
"We're excited about running criteriums again in Wagga," Silver said.
"The Wagga club used to run a Wollundry crit during their open but haven't done for a while. It was always good to have a crit then a road race the next day, it's a format a lot of cyclists really enjoy.
"There's been a fair bit of chat about the crit track and also the Tolland weekend, because it does kickstart the racing season.
"It's one of the more popular events on the calendar, we pride ourselves on displaying Wagga and putting on a good event for those travelling."
The 90km handicap road race at Ladysmith on Sunday has been renamed, the Barry O'Hagan Handicap, to honour the local cycling legend who founded the Tolland club.
He is a life member of Tolland and Wagga Cycling, and was president of both for a long period.
"We named it after him for his contribution to cycling in Wagga and across the state. It's definitely well deserved," Silver said.
"Most people are accustomed to coming to town for a fuill weekend of racing, which has been good for us and helped us get the numbers we need to put on a good event.
"We're looking at upwards of 260 racers on the weekend," that's the aim."
Silver expects the facility to increase participation in the sport, in particular growth areas like BMX.
The 1.7km criterium track is complemented by a velodrome, BMX track, pump track, jump track and mountain biking facilities.
"The BMX facility out there is amazing. It will be interesting to see where that pans out, whether the club can form a club and start building a member base around BMX," he said.
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