2023 Melbourne to Warrnambool Cycling Festival

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Cycling legend and multiple Grand Tour winner Chris Froome described the Powercor Melbourne to Warrnambool as a 'great race but brutal', after surviving over seven hours on the bike to finish in 12th position behind winner Tristan Saunders (Team BridgeLane) in front of a huge crowd in Warrnambool.

Saunders solo ride home finished nearly 3 minutes ahead of Brendan Green (Cycling Development Foundation) and local Camperdown 19-year-old Bailey McDonald (NCMG Criterion Racing).

The race started in rainy and overcast conditions at Avalon Airport, conditions that gave Froome a bumpy ride in on his charter flight from the Victorian High Country and he hustled to get on the start line.

"I came here looking for a hard training ride and that’s exactly what I got. Finished completely cross-eyed over the finish line there....what a day that was an amazing race, an amazing event, very well organised, great racing," Froome said.

"Didn’t really expect such a big group to go earlier on, everyone told me to be conservative in the first 100, 150ks but it seems as if that was race over in the first 20. A group of 20 guys went up the road with all the teams represented so behind there wasn’t really much of a chase going on.

"Once we got up to the coast after about 200ks I think six of us got off the front of the peloton and started bridging that gap. Two of us then broke clear of that but we never made it back to the front but big day out and big chase to get there. Congrats to whoever came over the line first, I didn’t actually get to see that far ahead but yeah that was a brutal but great event.” 

Winner Tristan Saunders said he had appreciated the prestige and history of the race before he first competed in the Melbourne to Warrnambool.

"Actually, I was here for the tour of great south coast or something and I saw the finish line and I just really loved the feel of it. Then got to do it for the first time in 2019 and I’ve been back every year since. And honestly I can’t believe that I’ve now won it, it’s amazing,” Saunders said.

"Wearing this yellow jersey is pretty good. Honestly, personally it’s awesome but I definitely couldn’t have done it without the team. I had the perfect ride today, I just looked after myself because we were always in the perfect position. Then I was able to capitalise on having an easy day and just put my head down and went to the line as hard as I could.”

The Warrnambool Women's Cycling Classic was won in a sprint finish by South Australian and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Sophie Edwards. 

Edwards took four hours and 33 minutes to cover the 170km from Colac to Warrnambool.

Olympian Chloe Hosking was runner-up while Matilda Raynolds was third.