Tour of Gipp­s­land hits Mt Baw Baw

Warragul & Drouin Gazette - - GAZETTE SPORT -

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).

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