THERE is no better time for Nick Leonard to break his Melbourne to Warrnambool Cycling Classic hoodoo.
The 27-year-old sets out from Avalon on Saturday for his third ride in the world's second oldest one-day race with the support of his south-west-based team, Subaru - Anchor Point Racing.
But Leonard has another card up his sleeve when it comes to support during the challenging 262-kilometre course.
The Melbourne resident, who finished in fifth spot in 2017, will have former winner Andrew Lindsay as his team manager in a support car behind the peloton.
Lindsay won the Classic in 1983 40 minutes off scratch in 6 hours, 30 minutes and eight seconds.
"It's a big thing for us and he passes on a huge passion for the race and it is one of Australia's biggest races," Leonard said of the impact that Lindsay had on the team.
"A lot of the guys in our team have experience in the race and different stories and outcomes of each year as to how each can unfold and it does help to have them on board."
The former Gold Coast resident, who moved down with his partner Australian track cyclist Maddie Janssen, said his fifth-placed finish in 2017 gave him a boost heading into Saturday's race.
"The field in 2017 was a class field of Olympic riders and top athletes and finishing top five really opened my eyes to what I can do on the bike," Leonard said.
"I'm really hoping to put it on the podium on the weekend. I have worked towards this goal since I knew the release date in October and it was to focus on the race. This is my big goal for the year."
Leonard will be closely supported in his goal by teammates Jack Aitken, Daniel Bonello, Nicholas Canterbury, Alexander Holden, Dylan Lindsey and Nick Locandro.
The bike shop employee also backed his teammates to be pushing hard for positions on the podium at the finish line.
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