12 March 2019


As part of the global commentary team of the major UCI World Tour events, Matt Keenan has his finger on the pulse of everything cycling. He has seen it all and has an exceptional feel for what makes for a great day in the saddle and what makes a cyclist tick. Prior to the inaugural Velothon Sunshine Coast, Matt got a sneak preview of what was in store for the riders and now he is heading back to see what is in store for 2019.

“I really like the Velothon course and did the original reccy back in 2017. The course was brutal and way harder than what I expected. The comparison that I would make in terms of the type of event that it is equivalent to in Europe is something like Liège–Bastogne–Liège except the weather is whole lot better. It is up and down the whole time, there is no huge mountain pass as you would see in the Tour De France but the amount of climbing you do each day is relentless.”

“I am really happy to be heading up again in late March to reacquaint myself with the roads, take in the beautiful scenery and see what the changes rider have in store for them this year,” he said.

Set in the stunning Sunshine Coast hinterland, in the very mild Queensland winter, Matt said it makes for the perfect cycling escape for riders and a great holiday destination for the whole family. “The beauty of Velothon is that it is in the middle of July and for those in the southern states it is a great excuse to escape winter, so that is one important element of it. Any ride you do where you are not putting on thermals, and just wearing knicks and a jersey is a good ride. Sunscreen is way better than arm warmers.”

“This year having every day start at the Velothon Clubhouse is a really good move. The Clubhouse will be more like the tour village where everybody gathers in anticipation of the stage that is about to happen. That makes it a lot more simple, especially for those heading up without support. But also, if you are travelling with a family it gives them a base as well, so they can go to the start and then spend the rest of the day doing their thing,” he said.

Matt said the attraction of Velothon Sunshine Coast is the genuine challenge of the event and its ability to replicate the real grand tour experience. “The multiple day element of Velothon separates it from other events. Everybody that I have spoken to that has done it, said the third day provided the biggest challenge because like riding the Tour De France, you get that accumulated effect of fatigue and that is the hard part.”

“I really like that aspect, and so did they. It is fantastic and unique to Velothon. It is what separates this mass participation event, Velothon, from the other Gran Fondo and gives riders a little bit of an insight into what it is like to ride a major tour on unrelenting roads,” he said.

Matt believes that consistency in training and learning to back up are the keys for all riders saddling up for the challenge of Velothon Sunshine Coast in July.
“Consistency in training is always important but even more so when you are doing a multiple day event. For most people who work full time, have family commitments as well, they need to make the most of their weekends. Get out early on Saturday and Sunday morning and get the body accustomed to backing up and doing two solid sessions, a couple of days in a row, so you are ready for July, when you have to do three.”

“Of all the things you achieve in life, the ones that give you the greatest satisfaction are not the easy ones. They are the difficult ones. One of my favourite quotes is from President John F Kennedy is, ‘We chose to go to the moon, … not because it is easy, but because it is hard’. Every achievement that we celebrate isn’t easy, it has been something challenging.”

“Velothon is both challenging and immensely enjoyable. It is a great excuse to have a debrief and a beer and if you don’t put it on Strava, then you can tell all sorts of stories about how quick you were. And the later the night gets, the taller the story gets, just like the climbs they were longer and harder.”

“I love that Velothon falls in the middle of the Tour De France, which is the most important time of the year for cycling. It is cycling’s Grand Final and Velothon is right in sync with the spirit of the Tour,” he said.