A MONTH after this year’s Melbourne to Warrnambool Cycling Classic sweeps through the south-west, mountain bikes get their chance in the spotlight.
The inaugural 12 Apostles Mountain Bike Classic, scheduled for late November, will feature three days of competition across the Shipwreck Coast and will be part of a national series.
Stage one starts in the afternoon of Friday, November 23, at a strategic location between Warrnambool and Port Campbell. The undulating coastal trail winds through Peterborough among salt bush scrub and boasts scenic views from the cliff tops.
Of course, riders will be keeping a close eye on the track.
The opening stage concludes with a Port Campbell time trial.
Stage two resumes in Port Campbell the following morning and heads inland.
The bushland surrounding Timboon and the historic rail trail will host most of the action during the day before a special function that evening.
Stage three comprises an out-and-back course, again starting at Port Campbell.
It features a sprint to the 12 Apostles before the coastal terrain morphs into rain forest along the Gellibrand River.
Riders will then return to Port Campbell for the finish.
In total, competitors will cover about 150 kilometres.
The classic hopes to attract national and international riders and will be filmed for television broadcasts across the world.
The state government is supporting the event.
Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan said the three-day endurance test provided a great stage for competition, while also promoting the region.
“Funding of $25,000 for this event is being provided to Shipwreck Coast Tourism,” he said.
Corangamite Shire mayor Matt Makin said the south-west was the ideal playground for those on two wheels.
“Corangamite Shire is becoming more and more popular with the on and off-road cycling fraternity,” he said.