CHANGES to the Melbourne to Warrnambool Cycling Classic route are expected to be locked in after they were warmly embraced by riders, organisers and police.
Changes for the 98th Classic had the race start at the Werribee Equestrian Centre before heading along the Hamilton Highway to Camperdown, then Cobden and along the Cobden-Warrnambool Road to the traditional finish on Raglan Parade.
“The route changes worked very well according to the riders and police,” race director Scott Sunderland said yesterday.
“Everyone said the countryside was very picturesque and then we had climbs around Camperdown. It all worked really well.
“We’ll review the whole race, including the route, and revise it year by year but at this stage we would like to lock it in for a year or two which will allow for the riders to train for the event and spectators to become familiar with the best viewing spots.”
Mr Sunderland said all the comments had been positive.
“It’s all thumbs-up, there were no negatives except that there might have been a little bit too much wind, but that’s what the Melbourne to Warrnambool is all about.
“They were perfect racing conditions. Everyone counts on there being wind, that’s what makes it such a tough race. It’s one of the difficulties which defines the Melbourne to Warrnambool.
“Riders know they will encounter wind and they train for it. Teams are put together knowing the wind will be a factor. There are not too many finely built climbers, it’s all about horsepower — the big boys come out to play.”
About 20 police units helped ensure the safety of riders.
Warrnambool police highway patrol unit’s Acting Sergeant Rachell Field said 13 solo motorbike police members and seven highway patrol units from Warrnambool and Hamilton assisted on Saturday and at yesterday’s Shipwreck Coast Classic.
She said the motorcycle police carried out rolling road closures while the highway patrol units took up positions at the most dangerous crossings.
Acting Sergeant Field said the bike races took a lot of co-ordination involving Cycling Australia, police and local resources.
“The end result is that cyclists can ride in as much safety as possible while causing as little disruption as possible,” she said.