FIVE OF Warrnambool's big players are eager to continue supporting the growth of Australia's oldest one-day cycling classic.
The 104th edition of the Melbourne to Warrnambool Cycling Classic will usher in a new era in the event's history with the event expanding into a second day, creating a weekend of cycling in the seaside city.
And the businesses and organisations that have supported the continued survival of the world's second oldest one-day race for the past three years are eager to see what lies ahead for the 'Warrny'.
Deakin University, South West Tafe, Royal Bikes, Lady Bay Resort and Ace Radio proudly support the time-honoured event.
Royal Bikes owner Shaun King has backed the event in the past three years and this time around his shop has the naming rights for the new Port Campbell to Warrnambool Handicap.
"It (the classic) has a really rich history in Warrnambool and it's a big part of the cycling culture down here and also part of the culture and community as well," he said of the Warrny's impact on the city.
Lady Bay Resort sponsors Sunday's Middle Island Criterium - the other new event added to the weekend.
Lydia Kippe, the resort's general manager, said the criterium, which takes place on Warrnambool's Viaduct Road, boosted not only the event but also the community's involvement in it.
Deakin University director Alistair McCosh said the re-emergence of the classic at the end of the Australian summer of cycling provided many benefits for the region.
"From a Deakin perspective we want to be part of the community and support community events like this," he said.
"But also what we want to see is our students engaged in such a world-class event.
"Since they have changed the date and as they are getting more international cyclists involved, we want to see opportunities for our students who are studying sport or event management to get involved.
"It's a win-win for the community and also from a Deakin perspective."
South West Tafe CEO Mark Fidge is excited to see where the Warrny will go in 2020 and beyond.
"The opportunities into the future are really exciting," he said. "I love how it is being co-ordinated with other events and the broader racing calendar when it comes to cycling across Australia.
"That is one of the reasons why we wanted to be apart of it and the thing for us is that we want to support the young talent that is coming through... providing them with an opportunity to go on and do things not just locally but internationally with their cycling."
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