THE iconic Melbourne to Warrnambool Cycling Classic will undergo yet another facelift.
The 118th classic was officially launched at State Parliament yesterday, with key changes for the October 12 event including a new course that by-passes major highways for the majority of the race.
This year’s race will bypass the Princes Highway until it reaches Allansford, possibly skipping Terang with limited details released yesterday indicating the field would travel from Camperdown to Cobden before reaching Allansford.
The race will depart the National Equestrian Centre at Werribee with riders making their way to the south-west via Little River, Bannockburn and Teesdale.
Exact course maps will be released in the coming weeks.
The longest one-day race in the southern hemisphere has undergone a series of course changes in the past decade but the revamp for next month’s race could be the most dramatic.
It will also be the first time the sport’s governing body, Cycling Australia, will take on the co-ordinator role, ending the 17-year association of John Craven’s Caribou Productions with the event.
More than 230 cyclists are expected to take on the arduous 260-kilometre road race.
Registrations for the event close on October 6 with last year’s champion Florris Goessinnen expected to headline top Australian and international cyclists.
Premier and South West Coast MP Denis Napthine and Sport and Recreation Minister Hugh Delahunty launched the classic yesterday.
Napthine said the state government remained a proud supporter of the event.
“It’s a fantastic event that showcases the abilities of some of Australia’s top cyclists,” he said.
“It also provides a massive boost for Warrnambool, attracting thousands of weekend visitors and generating significant exposure for the city.”
The classic and the Shipwreck Coast Classic, the following day, form part of the 13-part Cycling Australia National Road Series.
A Cycling Australia spokeswoman said the role of the Warrnambool Citizens Road Race Committee would remain unchanged.
“The committee remains the owner and custodian of the race,” the spokeswoman said yesterday.
“Cycling Australia is responsible for race direction, event operation and logistics — the roles previously handled by Caribou Productions.
“Cycling Australia reports to the race committee who are overall responsible.”