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Cadel's Great Ocean Road Race to boost Victorian tourism

Alia Parker's picture
Cyclists in the inaugural 2015 Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race. Cycle Traveller

The Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race looks set to become a major tourist attraction for Victoria with the new event already starting to earn the respect of the world's pro-cycling governing body, race organisers said today.

Following the success of the inaugural one-day pro cycling challenge in January this year, organisers said the Elite Men's Road Race had attracted 'in principle' support for a 1.HC classification from the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI).

“The contribution Cadel Evans has made to Australian cycling cannot be underestimated and I am pleased that the UCI has awarded the event an in-principle 1.HC classification as part of our commitment to growing the profile, appeal and participation in cycling worldwide,” said UCI vice president Tracey Gaudry.

When formally approved, this classification, which stands just one level below UCI World Tour status, means the event will become more attractive to international cyclists, which in turn will boost tourism and economic activity along the south Victorian coastline.

It's a boon for Victoria, which has been aiming to attract some of the tens of thousands of cycling fans, teams and support crews – already in the country each January for the popular UCI World Tour's Tour Down Under in nearby Adelaide – to cross the border.

Cycling in the 2015 Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race. Cycle TravellerVictorian Minister for Sport, Tourism and Major Events, John Eren said the inaugural event in January this year had been a huge success for Victoria, attracting some of the world’s best riders and cycling teams to the State.

“This region is one of the most picturesque settings in world cycling. This is our chance to showcase our natural strengths to the world,” he said.

Teams Orica GreenEdge and BMC have already signed up for the 2016 Great Ocean Road Race – to be held on Sunday, January 31 – and negotiations with other prominent teams are under way.

Helping to attract even more cyclists to the event is the name behind the race, Cadel Evans. Now in his first year of retirement, the former Tour de France winner said he would join in the People's Ride on Saturday, January 30, giving everyday cyclists the chance to ride the race route with him the day before the pros take to the pedals.

“I’m really thrilled that this year’s inaugural event was so well received,” said Cadel, “And delighted that now in my retirement, I’ll be able to join in the excitement of the very popular Momentum Energy People’s Ride.”

The Elite Women's race will also take place on January 30.

The 174km route, which remains unchanged, starts in Geelong and travels along the coast through Cadel Evans’ home town of Barwon Heads, followed by Thirteenth Beach, Torquay and Bells Beach, before cutting inland via Moriac and back to the finish line on Geelong’s waterfront.

The route is perfect for an attacking-style race, common among the European Spring Classics.

The People's Ride route is largely the same as the race route, although a little shorter at about 114km as it cuts out a final loop into Geelong at the finish. There is also a shorter ride option of about 68km.

Cyclists interested in joining the People's Ride are encouraged to sign-up to the waiting list, with registrations set to fill out fast when they open next week.

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