Competitors in the Men’s National Road Series (NRS) during the 2024 Squadron Energy Grafton to Inverell Cycle Classic started peddling at 7:15am. Image: Emma Pritchard

Wheels in motion as renowned event cycles into life

Emma Pritchard

It is one of the most iconic sporting events in Australia which isn’t for the faint hearted.

A gruelling test of ability and endurance over 228km, more than 300 of the country’s best cyclists competed in the 2024 Squadron Energy Grafton to Inverell Cycle Classic on April 27 and 28, the 63rd edition of the second oldest road race in Australia.

With clear conditions forecast throughout the event, 25-year-old Victorian Bentley Niquet-Olden from team CCACHE-Par Kup took advantage of a tactically perfect race, pedalling across the finish line in the Men’s National Road Series (NRS) in a time of 5:54:51 from St George Continental Cycling Team (SGC) rider Ben Carman, and Blackshaw Racing (BRE) entrant Oli Stenning.

Describing himself as stoked following his success, Niquet-Olden revealed his legs came good during the last climb over Gibraltar Range, and said he was thrilled to have his name etched onto the honour roll as the race winner alongside some of the greats of the sport.

It was a phenomenal result for CCACHE-Par Kup with seven of their riders finishing inside the top 20.

The inaugural two-day Women’s NRS Sapphire Tour over 109km from Mount Mitchell to Inverell featuring a road race on April 27 (Stage 1) and a circuit race on April 28 (Stage 2) attracted more than 30 entrants, with 24-year-old Katelyn Nicholson from Team BridgeLane (TBL) recording a dominant victory, sprinting over the finish line more than a minute ahead of her nearest competitor.

Nicholson, who started cycling in 2022, said she is “absolutely loving the sport” and is preparing to head overseas with her fellow cyclists from Team BridgeLane to compete on the European circuit.

Event organiser Chris Thompson told the Clarence Valley Independent he was pleased with how the 2024 Squadron Energy Grafton to Inverell Cycle Classic unfolded and was relieved to see competitors cross the line safely.

“That’s always want you want to see,” he said.

For the full list of results, please visit