THE MELBOURNE to Warrnambool Cycling Committee is eager to find a way to attract more women to Australia's oldest one-day classic.
The 'Warrny' is preparing to crown its fifth women's champion with 11 riders signed on to race in the grueling 267-kilometre race from Avalon Airport to Warrnambool's Raglan Parade on Saturday.
Lauretta Hanson was the first women's winner when she completed the race in seven hours, 50 minutes and 57 seconds in 2015.
Only 13 had ever completed the Classic before that Saturday but 19 lined up and 10 finished on that day.
Last year 12 riders started the race with seven completing the 262-kilometre ride.
The 2017 edition attracted 10 riders but only Erin Nolan was able to finish the 277-kilometre distance.
In 2016 12 participants started before winners Tessa Fabry and Fiona Yard along with Jessica Lane crossed the line as the only finishers.
M2WCC chairman Shane Wilson said they were eager to find a way to attract more women.
"We just have to keep pushing it and last year we had Peta Mullens who rode the event and only finished 10 minutes behind the winner," he said.
"If women can look to Peta as an example then it will be a demonstration that they are more than capable of matching it with the best men.
"Women have fantastic opportunities now in cycling right through the (Australian) summer and this is the last of the major events they get to have a crack at.
"The distance is a hurdle because women don't have any events over 150-kilometres so the 'Warrny' sticks out there as being one of a kind.
"Somehow we are trying to crack that nut and attract more women to the sport.
"Whether we design a different course in the future we will just have to wait and see how that looks."
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