These next few days (5-9 of February) will play host the oldest cycling stage race in Australia, as the 61st edition of the Jayco Herald Sun tour hits the road. The event has set a benchmark for stage cycling in Australia and cemented itself into the history books.
A long history
The very first race was held in 1952 with an estimated 500,000 people viewing the race from vantage points around Melbourne. The event wasn’t the first pro bike race held in Australia, that honour dates back to 1934. In the first Sun Tour race 56 riders started and of 18 those that started managed to finish the six day event. The winner took 42 hours, 27 minutes and 55 seconds to complete.
Over the years the event has gained a huge following and grabbed the attention of sports fans all over Australia. With a long list of past winners that include Russell Mockridge, Stuart O’Grady, Baden Cooke, and Simon Gerrans, it’s sure to be an exciting race to watch this year. The 2013 event brought us an unexpected victor, as the event had its youngest ever winner, 20 year old Calvin Watson. It also happened to be Calvins’ birthday.
2009 highlighted the standard of riders that took part, as Bradley Wiggins, a six-time world and Olympic champion, won the event. He went on to win the Tour De France in 2012.
The event itself
This year’s race is held over 5 days, and riders will compete on 4 separate stages and a prologue. The prologue will take the riders though the heart of Melbourne and is not very long, being only 2.5kms. It offers fans a close look at the best cyclists from around the world, as they take to the streets and attempt to beat the clock and their fellow competitors for the Yellow Jersey.
Location, Location, Location
Starting with a Prologue course through the Heart of Melbourne, unlike anything ever seen in Australian Cycling! The prologue is not long at 2.5 kilometres but offers spectators an opportunity to see the world’s best up close as they battle against the clock to take their chance to secure the Yellow Jersey.
Stage 1 starts at Geelong, with the backdrop being Cunningham Pier, in the spectacular Corio bay. It ends in the middle of Ballarat; sure to be an exciting place for the spectators to catch a glimpse of the first stage finish.
Stage 2 continues from the historic city of Ballarat, and the riders make their way to the central business district of Bendigo.
Stage 3 has the riders start off in the city of Mitchelton Winery, and the riders will have to navigate though rolling hills, flat runs and the banks of the river Goulborn River to finally come to the city of Nagmbie, which is where the stage ends.
Stage 4 takes place in the Mornington Peninsula and hits the steep Arthur’s Seat climb, and has the riders wind though incredible scenery. It is sure to offer viewers a thrilling battle to the end.
Every stage offers interesting landmarks for spectators, including vineries to visit, historic locations, beautiful beaches, gourmet restaurants and family attractions. The race and the surrounds will not disappoint.
The event marks the final race of this year’s “Australian Summer of Cycling”.