ORGANISERS of the Tour of the South West believe the event will attract 300 entries on the back of its inclusion in a state road series.
The two-day showcase is one of eight Victorian tours which will make up the inaugural Victorian state series.
The Tour of the South West, which last year had legs at Wangoom and in Warrnambool, is the third event on the series calendar, to be held on April 27 and 28.
Cycling Victoria communications manager Paul Lumsden said he was confident entry numbers would lift because it was part of the Victorian state series.
Lumsden said he expected the extra entries to come from male masters and female riders.
The tour has expanded from three grades to nine, adding A, B and C grades for both male masters and females to go with A, B and C grades for open males.
“If there were 190 entries for the Tour of the South West last year, we’d be looking around the 300 mark this year,” Lumsden said.
“There is a very strong base of masters riders in Victoria. We have around 7000 members and over half of those members are masters riders, over 30 years old.”
Lumsden said several factors prompted the creation of the Victorian state series.
He said Cycling Victoria wanted to link its premier road tours, similar to what Cycling Australia does with the national road series.
Another reason was to have a selection process for the increasingly popular Tour of Bright in December.
“Last year we sold out the 550 entries in about 20 minutes,” Lumsden said. “Part of the rationale (of the series) is it gives people events to compete in during the year to get points to get automatic entry into the Tour of Bright.
“It gives people a goal. They know if they place in the top 10 in their category in the series, they get automatic entry into the Tour of Bright.”
Lumsden said feedback from riders was that a state road series was ideal. Series tours include the Mansfield road race, Baw Baw Classic, Midlands Tour and the Tour of the Goldfields, among others.
“We were scared initially because it is quite different, but the feedback is quite positive. People like the concept of it,” Lumsden said.
“There was feedback around how to do the points to make it more balanced, in terms of how people win the series, stage races versus overall.”