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Elite cyclists coming

Beechworth to host second stage of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour

- By JEREMY WILSON

BEECHWORTH will once again be a main attraction for one of Australia’s oldest profession­al cycling stage races, the Jayco Herald Sun Tour, when it returns to the North East next month.

With nearly 70 years of history, the race is one of Australia’s heritage sporting events and draws cycling teams from around the world with an honour role that includes Tour de France champions Chris Froome and Sir Bradley Wiggins.

The tour includes the two-stage Lexus Women’s Tour made up of a relatively flat stage around Shepparton then a second and final mountain stage including Mount Beauty and Tawonga then crowning a champion at the finish at Falls Creek.

Starting at Mitchelton Wines in Nagambie on Wednesday, February 5, the men’s tour will finish stage one 122 kilometres away in Shepparton.

Stage two will see riders enter the Alpine Shire for their first of two mountain stages with a route from Beechworth to Falls Creek via Stanley, Dederang, Tawonga and Mount Beauty.

Stage three on Friday, February 7 starts in Bright and finishes in Wangaratta via the Tawonga Gap, Rosewhite Gap, Myrtleford and Milawa.

A climb from Mansfield to Mount Buller will make up the second mountain climb in stage four, and the spectator-friendly stage five in Melbourne is 22 laps of the Royal Botanic Gardens including the Anderson Street hill.

Indigo mayor Jenny O’Connor said it was fantastic that the tour would once again be on the door step of the local town.

“The historic town of Beechworth is part of Australia’s premiere cycling destinatio­n, so it is fitting that we will host Stage 2 of Australia’s oldest profession­al cycling race in 2020,” she said.

“Hosting the Jayco Sun Herald is fantastic for the community as it not only brings visitors to town that supports the local economy, but the tour also helps grow awareness of the memorable experience of cycling through Beechworth’s extraordin­ary landscape.

“Cycle tourism in Beechworth continues to grow from strength to strength, bringing visitors to our region that ride, dine and shop; the impact of hosting the Jayco Sun Herald Tour will be a real boost to the local economy.”

In a superstar signing, Simon Yates will join his Mitchelton-SCOTT team mates for the tour.

With other World-Tour teams to be announced shortly the Mitchelton-SCOTT line-up is expected to start favorites to take out the famous five-day event.

The 27 year old Englishman has won multiple stages at each of the Grand Tours (Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a Espana) as well as being awarded best Young Rider (TdF- 2017) and winning World Championsh­ip Gold on the velodrome (Minsk 2013 Points race).

 ?? PHOTO: Jean-Pierre Ronco ?? BACK IN THE MOUNTAINS: Australia’s oldest stage cycling race, the Jayco Herald Sun Tour, will return to the Alpine region next month. Pictured is Chris Froome of Team Sky, riding in the 2017 tour.
PHOTO: Jean-Pierre Ronco BACK IN THE MOUNTAINS: Australia’s oldest stage cycling race, the Jayco Herald Sun Tour, will return to the Alpine region next month. Pictured is Chris Froome of Team Sky, riding in the 2017 tour.

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