The announcement that the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race is coming to town has swept the socks off the Australian cycling community. Further to the formal announcement earlier today, we take a quick look at a few of the finer details you need to be aware of if you want to be a part of the action.
1. Event Dates
The inaugural edition of the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race will be held on the weekend of 31 January – 1 February 2015. More specifically:
- Saturday 31 January 2015 (morning): People’s Ride
- Saturday 31 January 2015 (afternoon): Elite Women’s Race
- Sunday 1 February 2015: Elite Men’s Race
Further details as they come to hand.
2. People’s Ride
The ride on the Saturday will be the chance for us “everyday cyclists” to ride a part of the course of the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race. In a similar format to a Gran Fondo ride which is popular in Europe and starting to gain some momentum here in Australia, it will technically not be a race but the local club cyclists will be seeing it as a chance to show their colours and try and beat everybody to the line. For most other riders it will be a social occasion riding with a group of friends.
Due to the timing of the event (late summer), I expect the People’s Ride will be an incredibly popular event. If you’re booking accommodation, get onto it pronto.
3. The Big Teams Will Be Coming to Play
Forget about the arguments about early season racing making the season too long. There will be some big hitters Down Under and that does not include “just” the Aussies. The Tour Down Under will have finished only one week prior, and with nice weather and places to train don’t be surprised to see plenty of teams and riders staying the extra week chasing some valuable UCI points so early on.
Some of the world’s best cyclists will be in Geelong for this race, both men and women. Bring it on!
4. There Will Not Be a Support Race for Local Riders
OK, I’m just guessing on this one but given the logistical difficulties in organising these types of events, it is unlikely that it will be supported by a race especially for local (state and national level) riders. If you don’t qualify for the Elite race on the Sunday, you’re only option will be the People’s Ride on the Saturday. Deal with it.
5. The Race Will Be Organised With The 2010 World Championships Used as a Template for Success
There’s no question that the 2010 World Road Championships was a fantastic success, not only for Geelong, but also for Australia as a sporting nation and the UCI as the sport’s governing body. On the back of that, expect the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road to base it’s foundations on that event. If you were to organise this weekend, why wouldn’t you base it off that?
6. Some Locals Won’t Be Happy About It
While the 2010 World titles were a fantastic event for most, some locals weren’t happy about losing “their” roads to a bunch of lycra clad cyclists for no apparent reason. Sadly attitudes haven’t changed, and unfortunately there will always be someone who doesn’t see the value in this event. And expect the Geelong Advertiser (the local newspaper) to run at least one story about how local’s will be inconvenienced by such a “nuisance”, followed quickly by a standard “Cars vs Bikes” debate.
Update! It’s already started. Good one Christopher Taylor.
7. The Course Won’t Be Easy
The announcement of the course is yet to be finalised, but if there’s one thing I can tell you now it’s that it won’t be a roll in the park. Some of the roads are dead and heavy, there seems to be a consistent stream of rolling hills. For the pro’s it won’t be too much of a drama, there’s no major mountains around here. But for the average weekend warrior I expect most people to be telling me how surprisingly hard the course was the day after the People’s Ride.
Don’t be surprised. You heard it here first
8. It Will Be Hot. And Windy
Late January/early February is traditionally a hot time of year in Victoria. Just as the kiddies go back to school, a sudden heatwave comes on. Temperatures could vary depending on the day, don’t expect the max temperature to be much lower than about 24C, but temperatures up to about 42C wouldn’t surprise me either.
It will be windy. I’m no meteorologist but I’ve been riding a bike long enough to know it will be windy. It was windy yesterday, it will be windy tomorrow and it will be windy on the weekend of the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road. Put it in your diary. I’d love to be wrong on this, by the way… I just won’t be.