"Oh my god, this is in our backyard."
GUN up-and-comer Bronte Stewart has seen her fair share of cycling facilities, but she's adamant Wagga's Multisport Facility is up there with the best across the state.
The recently-completed venue's criterium track was put to the test in a 30-lap hitout before it makes its serious racing debut on the first day of the Tolland Open on Saturday.
The first race of the state racing season will mark the long-awaited return of criterium competition at the $9 million Pomingalarna facility, before the traditional road race at Ladysmith on Sunday.
Stewart, elder sibling and in-form Nero Continental rider Myles and Tolland clubmate Sean Smith were among the host of locals to try out the facility on Tuesday night.
"I came out here last weekend and I was like 'oh my god this is in our backyard," Bronte said.
"This is definitely up there in the country I reckon, I haven't seen too many crit tracks like this.
"This weekend it should attract all different types of riders. It's not just a road race for those who are into the longer races, there's something for everyone."
Bronte, 17, enters the race in strong form after claiming bronze and silver in two Tour of Gippsland stages, which followed three under-19 top five finishes at January's National Road Championships.
Myles is considered one of the legitimate hopes after he finished third in last month's iconic Melbourne to Warrnambool, shortly after dual bronzes in tour of Gippsland stages.
He will have the support of his Nero Continental teammates racing this weekend, headed by Cooper Sayers, while National Road Series rivals' Oliver's Racing will also compete.
After a couple of frustrating years due to COVID, Stewart said his recent success has given him the self belief he can notch up consistent results at the elite level.
"Coming off the 'Warney' and Gippsland, I'm on a bit of a high and know what the team is capable of," he said.
It's built a lot of confidence in me. The last couple of years has been shocking with COVID and we haven't had the opportunities to race. I've been working full time and gone part time now and training my arse off.
"Coming into this weekend on a new course, which is awesome, we've got some really strong guys this year so hopefully we can do the double and win both.
"I've done it (Ladysmith race) I think four times now and know it back to front. The final straight is pretty deceiving where the sprint is and sometimes people go a bit early, I was sussing it out on the weekend and I think I've got it down pat."
Smith will look for a strong result as he seeks his own opportunity on a team.
"It's taken a while for the facility to get up and running, but now it's here I'm super excited to get amongst it," he said.
"I've only been doing it (cycling) for the last few years. I'll just try and break into a team hopefully and get some good results."
Saturday's criteriums get underway at 1.30pm, with division one to be held at 4.15pm, while Sunday's 90km road race kicks off at Ladysmith Memorial Hall at 10am Sunday.
The road race has been renamed the Barry O'Hagan Handicap, to honour the Tolland and Wagga Cycling Clubs' life member.
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