WARRNAMBOOL’s inclusion in the star-studded Jayco-Herald Sun Cycling Tour is being heralded as sporting coup for the region.
Two of the road cycling event’s four stages will be conducted in the south-west in 2018 – the 161.6km Colac to Warrnambool leg and the 198.6km Warrnambool to Ballarat section.
The Great Ocean Road, Allansford, Logans Beach, Hopkins River and Flagstaff Hill will all feature on the stage one schedule. Cobden and Camperdown are part of the stage two circuit.
World tour teams Orica-Scott and Trek-Segafredo will compete in the January 30 to February 4 event with 2016 Giro d'Italia runner-up Esteban Chaves among the headline acts.
The announcement comes just weeks after the time-honoured Melbourne to Warrnambool Cycling Classic was put on hold for at least 12 months.
Warrnambool City Council visitor economy manager David McMahon said the announcement was a tick for the region.
“With this race, usually if a stage finishes in one town, the next stage starts in another town, so to have stage one finish in Warrnambool and stage two begin here is significant,” he said.
“In addition to the economic benefits that come from having the race stop in Warrnambool overnight, it means that our city will be treated to two days of elite cycling.
“An event of this stature attracts global media coverage with race broadcasts featuring the region’s stunning natural attractions to be beamed across Australia and around the world.”
Member for South West Coast Roma Britnell said Warrnambool would benefit from having a world-class event on its doorstep.
She said the overnight stop betweens stages one and two was a boost.
“It won’t be just the riders, there will be support people and race officials and spectators,” Britnell said.
“This will provide a massive opportunity and economic boost for local accommodation providers and hospitality businesses.
“Not to mention it will give south-west people a chance to see a world-class sporting event in their own backyard.”