Tour of Gippsland hits Mt Baw Baw
The Tour of Gippsland elite cycling race will conclude at Mount Baw Baw next Tuesday.
The 2018 tour will again feature women and men’s competitions, after the successful introduction of women in 2017 for the first time in the event’s history.
This year’s race schedule will begin with a longer kermesse race around the worldfamous Phillip Island motor racing circuit to start the Tour on Saturday from 11.30am.
It will finish with an extremely tough individual time trial up the renowned Mt Baw Baw climb next Tuesday from 10.30am to 1.30pm.
The middle stages will return to two favourite criterium circuits, Traralgon on Sunday at 10.30am and Sale on Monday at 11am, to make up the four-day event.
The Tour of Gippsland offers Australia’s young and up-and-coming men and women cyclists a great opportunity to race in a toplevel event, while giving regional communities the opportunity to be roadside to watch the thrilling tour unfold and some of Australia’s top riders in action.
The tour is part of Cycling Australia’s National Road Series (NRS), a breeding ground for some of Australia’s best riders now racing internationally, and the valuable points up for grabs will play a crucial role in deciding the overall NRS winner for both men and women.
The super strong Bennelong Swisswellness Cycling Team look to be the team to beat; currently leading the men’s series and with Ayden Toovey leading the NRS rankings and finishing third at the recent Amy’s Otway Tour.
Off the back of winning the final stage at the Tour of the King Valley, teammate Tristan Ward continued his outstanding form to take the overall win in the recent Amy’s Otway Tour after claiming a first and second in the two stages.
As the dominate rider over the past two events and a strong sprinter, Ward heads into the Tour of Gippsland as one of the tour favorites, however with the extremely tough Mt Baw Baw individual time trial sure to decide the result, it could be anyone’s race.
A favourite going into the stage one criterium at Amy’s Otway Tour Ashlee Ankudinoff (Specialized Women’s Racing) did not disappoint as the Australian Cycling Team member took the win in both the Criterium and Road Race, ahead of teammate Sharlotte Lucas.
Ankudinoff comes into the Tour of Gippsland only 40 points behind the Women’s NRS rankings leader Grace Brown with the backing of a strong Specialized Women’s Racing Team eager to ensure they take both the team’s and individual rankings leader position.
Baw Baw Shire mayor Joe Gauci said climbing the final 4.7km uphill trail will be a challenging and rewarding feat for competitors through one of Victoria’s most pristine alpine environments.
“There is certainly a growing appetite in our community for more diverse and engaging cycling opportunities,” he said.
“We look forward to continuing our work with the local cycling community to enhance existing events and bring more larger-scale projects to the region.
“We’re so pleased to support the Tour of Gippsland which combines cycling, the great outdoors and one of the region’s most famous natural assets – the Mt Baw Baw Alpine Resort.”
For more event information and key times visit the website www.tourofgippsland.com.
Senior football award winners were, from left Matt Rennie (runner up best and fairest), Nate Paredes (equal best and fairest), Kim Drew (equal best and fairest and Bobby Richardson rising star award), Brad Hefferd (most improved), Jake Hughes (most determined), James Davidson (best team player).