Shipwreck Coast Classic scuttled

THE Shipwreck Coast Classic has been wiped from the national cycling landscape.

The popular event, held the day after the iconic Melbourne to Warrnambool Cycling Classic, was a notable omission from the state calendar released yesterday.

Cycling Victoria confirmed the classic, held in October, had been run for the last time.

“We’ve been advised by Cycling Australia that event won’t be held,” a spokesman said.

Cycling Australia general manager of events Steve Peterson told The Standard last night the classic would not appear on the national calendar, to be released later this week. 

He said the decision to abandon the event was made on financial grounds as part of an extensive review of Cycling Australia’s operations during the past three months. 

“One of the areas closely scrutinised was the events program and the financial risk associated with that,” Peterson said. 

“Collectively across the Melbourne to Warrnambool (Cycling Classic) weekend, we made a loss and the Shipwreck Coast and the associated logistical costs compounded that loss.”

Peterson gave an assurance the Melbourne to Warrnambool would go ahead as planned. 

“Cycling Australia is 100 per cent committed to the Melbourne to Warrnambool and recognises it as an important event,” he said. 

“We will continue to deliver that event on behalf of the local committee.” 

 The decision to dump the Shipwreck Coast Classic, which runs from Warrnambool to Port Campbell and back to Warrnambool, stunned local organisers.

Warrnambool Citizens Road Race Committee chairman Brendan Gleeson was yesterday unaware of the decision. He is seeking discussions with Cycling Australia before commenting.

The Shipwreck Coast Classic was first run in 2009 as a support race to the Melbourne to Warrnambool, giving riders an extra reason to contest the time-honoured event. 

It grew to become a weekend of cycling, held up as an economic boon for the south-west, ensuring cyclists and team officials from the Melbourne to Warrnambool stayed a night in the region.

The Shipwreck event developed into a nationally-significant race in its own right when it became a round of the national men’s series in 2010, then added to the women’s series in 2011.

Three months ago the event attracted 149 entries.

The loss of the Shipwreck Coast Classic reduces the south-west’s national cycling events from three to two. The third Tour of The Great South Coast is scheduled for August 14-17 and the Melbourne to Warrnambool will be held on October 11. 

The Warrnambool City Council-organised Tour of the South West has again been included on the state road series and will be held in Wangoom and Warrnambool on April 26 and 27. 

jwoolley@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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