The Melbourne to Warrnambool Cycling Festival is less than two weeks away, with preparations in full swing for what is sure to be a fantastic weekend of cycling.
The 108th instalment of the Powercor Melbourne to Warrnambool Cycling Classic will be held on Saturday February 3 while the Lochard Energy Warrnambool Women’s Classic will take place on Sunday February 4.
The Royal Bikes Port Campbell to Warrnambool Handicap – designed to give amateur riders a taste of the Melbourne to Warrnambool experience – will also be held on Saturday February 3.
Chair of the Warrnambool Citizen’s Road Race Committee Shane Wilson said that entries were rolling in, with the potential for some big names to enter the field.
“The National Road Series Teams are starting to sign up now,” he said.
“Everybody has had a fairly busy week over the Tour Down Under so now they start to look to Cadel’s (Great Ocean Road Race) which is next week, and the Melbourne to Warrnambool.
“We’re part of the summer of cycling in Australia and our event is the last one.
“We’re hopeful that we’ll get some fairly decent names. We’re talking to some big names at the moment.”
Warrnambool Deputy Mayor Vicki Jellie said that the Warrnambool City Council was a proud, long-term supporter of the event, and she was particularly pleased to see the standalone women’s race continue to gain momentum.
“It’s part of our history. Growing up in Warrnambool you would always walk down to Raglan Parade to watch the end of the race as children, and now here we are and it’s still continuing, so it’s a very important thing and a great event for the city and for the state,” she said.
“It draws people from everywhere and the calibre of the cyclists that are involved is just wonderful.
“It’s excellent to have the women’s race now in its third year. It’s wonderful for our women to be able to show their strengths in what they can do.”
With two massive weekends at Premier Speedway, in addition to the Melbourne to Warrnambool this summer, Cr Jellie emphasised the importance of major events.
“We have some great events in the town – national and international,” she said.
“People come from everywhere and people can watch it around the world.
“So it brings something down to Victoria, to the Great Ocean Road, to South West Victoria and to Warrnambool.”
The Melbourne to Warrnambool Cycling Classic riders are expected to arrive at the finish line on Raglan Parade near Liebig Street between 2pm and 4pm. Riders in the Warrnambool Women’s Classic are expected to finish between 1pm and 2pm when they race the following day.
Both races will be broadcast on SBS On Demand.
For more information about the Melbourne to Warrnambool Cycling Festival visit www.melbournetowarrnambool.com.au.