Past winners Anthony Giacoppo and Sam Horgan are among a field of 130 cyclists to contest next week’s Tour of the Great South Coast.
The provisional start list was released yesterday, with numbers slightly down on the 2013 edition of the event, where more than 140 cyclists competed.
Last year’s winner Horgan, inaugural tour winner Giacoppo and in-form Victorian rider Brenton Jones are confirmed starters. Among the locals lining up will be Warrnambool’s Matthew Lane, Sam Lane and Mark Scouller, Camperdown’s Dylan Hately, Mortlake’s Darcy Woolley, Port Fairy’s Nathan McLaren and Portland’s Dylan Lindsey.
Nineteen teams, including the local Anchor Point South Coast cycling team, will compete in the five-day, eight-stage tour which covers 565 kilometres across south-west Victoria and south-east South Australia.
The tour is the sixth event on the 11-race National Road Series and will begin with a criterium and road race in Mount Gambier next Wednesday.
It continues with stages either starting or finishing in Port MacDonnell, Portland, Heywood, Casterton, Koroit and Peterborough culminating in the final stage criterium around Port Fairy’s Southcombe Park next Sunday.
The tour’s technical manager and chief executive officer of Cycling Victoria Kipp Kaufmann described the field as evenly matched and loaded with classy depth.
“The sport of cycling is ready for five days of fabulous competition with the quality of this line-up,” Kaufmann said.
“On paper, it is impossible to pick a winner — I think it will get down to a battle of survival, with weather conditions a key factor.”
Kaufmann said the battle between the two teams atop the road series teams’ classification, Avanti and Budget Forklifts, will be the one to watch across the tour.
“Both have a full complement of riders, with Budget Forklifts including Horgan, South Australian hill climbing specialist Tim Roe and sprint stars Jesse Kerrison, who won the Tour of the Murray River last week, and Tommy Nankervis.
“Jones will spearhead the Avanti team along with Giacoppo, consistent Victorian Mark O’Brien, dark horse Neil van der Ploeg and New Zealander Taylor Gunman. It’s going to be a great battle to watch in what will be a fantastic week of racing.”