AFTER a highly successful debut earlier this year, the Warrnambool City Council has confirmed the Tour of the South West cycling event will return in 2013.
The tour will be held on April 27 and 28 and will have an expanded program, with four masters categories added. Instead of female entrants riding in C grade, a sole women’s event has been added.
Event co-ordinator Rebecca Elmes said preliminary discussions about the course would begin in coming weeks, but she expected there would be little change to the course.
“Many of the riders said this year’s criterium circuit around the Warrnambool cemetery was one of the best in Australia, so we will be looking to use it again next year,” Elmes said.
“We are going to meet with members of the Wangoom community in the next couple of weeks to discuss with them the road race and time trial courses. We want to get the engagement with the community in Wangoom happening as early as possible to make sure they are behind us.”
Elmes said with the feedback from last year’s event being so positive, organisers were keen to stick as close to the original format as possible.
“We had fantastic feedback from the riders, officials, support crew and spectators, so we want to make next year’s tour run as smoothly,” she said. “But obviously we are keen to expand and grow the event.
“A lot of feedback from last year suggested that we should look at adding masters and have a separate women’s division.”
Elmes said more than 250 riders competed across three grades this year.
She expected entry numbers to increase to between 300 and 350 next year.
“It’s only early days, but we have already had interest in next year,” she said.
“We think the event can only grow in popularity.”