Exclusive: AusCycling’s Journey To Brisbane 2032
n an interview with Ministry of Sport, AusCycling executive general manager commercial, clubs & community, Agostino Giramondo, reflected on the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games and provide a look forward towards the Brisbane 2032 Olympics.
Looking back at AusCycling’s first Olympics as a national sporting organisation after merging prior to the Tokyo Games, Giramondo said the preparation difficulties caused a lot of problems.
“If you measure success just on medals, you would probably say it was under par, but we always have to remember and we will as years go by when we reflect back on this, 2021 was meant to happen in 2020 and COVID changed the way you could travel,” Giramondo told Ministry of Sport.
“It limited your preparation and competition and it’s really interesting the team that won three men’s team pursuit gold medals in a row, Team GB, also struggled, because they couldn’t travel.
“The European mainland riders did much better because they were still able to race, whether road or track and come together and have form.
“We were kind of stuck on the other side of the world wondering if we were competitive or not.
“We are quite proud of the performances of the Paralympic team.
“The team were amazing.
“Paige Greco was an inspiration claiming three medals and the whole team did Australia proud.
“I think to win a bronze medal in the men’s team pursuit after that horrible accident on day one was remarkable.
“That’s the sort of story that could be in an ESPN 30 for 30 one day, the resilience to come back from that was incredible…
“Despite the fact we had this below-par result in Tokyo, there are so many circumstances we can look back on and say it was really tough.
“We did quite well in the circumstances, and that’s the way we look at it,” he said.
Looking forward towards the Brisbane 2032 Olympic Games, Giramondo said AusCycling’s development in the lead up to 2032 will play a crucial role in Australia’s success.
“When it came to Tokyo, it was really just about finishing off what was in that cycle, there was nothing we really could have influenced to be honest,” Giramondo said.
“We think about Brisbane 2032 and what we want the sport to look like, we want more people riding bikes, we want more clubs who have got multi-disciplines as part of their offering.
“Does a BMX club just offer BMX in the future?
“Yes, but there might be some that will also be encouraged to work with other disciplines, particularly because of location.
“In some areas you’ve got multi-disciplined centres being built…
“We see bike riding as the sport, and then there’s a discipline for you, and there might be an athlete by that time who is proficient in more than one and you might see someone who is competing in an individual time trial on the road, and then on the track a few days later, and then also in a mountain bike race, it’s not a ridiculous notion.
“Between now and then, the direction that AusCycling takes is going to be critical, we understand we represent now all the disciplines, so with that added responsibility comes a real desire to plan for all the disciplines.
“Traditionally, most of the high-performance funding has gone to track.
“Traditionally, that’s been dictated by whoever is in charge.
“The way we look at it now is how do we invest across all disciplines, there still might be more investment in one over another, but the days of all of it going into one are over, and that’s where you’ll see a difference.
“We’re not dismissing Paris as a good result, by the way, there’s so many young riders now who are doing so well in Europe, that it would be disrespectful to them if we didn’t think about them as having great chances.
“And then LA and Brisbane, we’re so excited about Brisbane because the investment from the Queensland Government is one thing, but every state in the country is going to invest in infrastructure.
“When we get to the road to Brisbane, every state is going to want to have athletes doing well from their state and training at their facilities for the home Olympics, it’s a Brisbane Olympics, but it’s also an Australian Olympics, and that’s going to inspire a whole nation of people to do great things on bikes,” he said.
When asked about the commercial opportunity for AusCycling, Giramondo said: “I’ve been in this role since March and we previously didn’t have anyone devoted to commercial, but we had lots of great partnerships and they really helped us get a team on the path.”
“Partnerships involving equipment, nutrition and more.
“The greatest success we’ve had, which has added a new dimension to our partnerships, is that in our devotion to clubs.
“We’re able to introduce partnerships that help clubs either from an expense-saving point of view, which is what the BBB Cycling and Alpinestars and soon to be other partnerships will achieve.
“Also to be quite meaningful because we understand we’re going to be in a contactless world, people love to shop online so we’re providing the opportunity for digital marketplaces to thrive in our membership.
“That’s a pretty cool initiative in my thinking, we’re not different to other sports, I think other sports are doing the same thing, but it’s particularly important for us.
“Also the idea of doing things that make a difference to causes, so with safety, the Busby partnership is really important because not only does it add to the safety of a rider, but the data we then get from that helps us advocate for better roads.
“We’re doing a lot more of that, we just did a partnership which was really just to send out a survey with our database with We Ride Australia, and the responses we got from that will help deliver a report which is released on October 20 on the size of the cycling economy.
“By understanding the size of the economy, we can advocate for better infrastructure, whether that’s for people commuting, or for safer facilities for people riding bikes…
“We look for a long game with partnerships, because it’s easier to just take any offer that comes along, so we try and make sure it fulfils a need that has not been filled previously,” he told Ministry of Sport.