MELBOURNE to Warrnambool Road Race Cycling Committee chairman Shane Wilson is hoping the rejuvenation of the south-west’s premier cycling event is the start of a bright future.
After a hiatus in 2018, the 103rd edition of Australia’s oldest one-day cycling race returns better than ever with a revamped 262-kilometre course.
But the south-west-based committee is eager to lead the event back into the national and international spotlight with ideas of expanding the 123-year-old race.
“The short-term plan is for the Melbourne to Warrnambool weekend to have events on the Sunday and essentially becoming a cycling festival,” he said.
“Therefore not only will it be a great thing for the town it will have an economic boost as well.
“Part of the idea is that the Warrny finishes right in the middle of town (Raglan Parade) and we want to bring the Sunday races right into the middle of town where everybody is so they can enjoy it.”
Wilson was hopeful the committee could continue to work with the sport’s governing bodies Cycling Victoria and Cycling Australia so the iconic race would build further and attract riders from across the globe.
“The event is being so well run this year, obviously Cycling Victoria and Karin Jones are doing a fantastic job, and hopefully that means it will bring more and more cyclists,” he said.
“In larger respects that will be demand driven. We can’t see any reason why the Warrny can’t be as great as it possibly can be.”
The event is being so well run this year and hopefully that means it will bring more and more cyclistsShane Wilson
This year a total of 226 riders – including 12 female riders and 14 full teams (with seven riders each included in the total field) – will test themselves on the gruelling ride. A waiting list also had to be created because demand was so high.
Wilson said the iconic race, despite moving from its traditional October date, was still highly regarded and valued throughout the region.
“It has been proven that the town (Warrnambool) and the district are really proud of the Warrny,” he said.
“That has been proven by the general chat in the street at the moment and hopefully it gets people out to watch the event and get a few more motivated to get on the bike and try cycling.”
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