THE Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race (CEGORR) will be back on local roads this summer, with the international cycling festival’s return touted as a way to re-introduce the delights of the Bellarine and surrounds to the world.
On Saturday, the state government announced the Elite Men’s and Elite Women’s races in CEGORR had retained their top WorldTour status from world governing body Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) and would be held here not only on January 26-29, 2023 but also in 2024 and 2025.
The four-day festival, which was called off due to COVID-19 in 2021 and this year, will feature curtain-raising criterium Race Torquay as well as other public events.
Cyclists of all ages can ride on the same course – which has previously passed through Geelong, Barwon Heads, Torquay and Moriac – as their elite cycling heroes through the People’s Ride.
Since the inaugural event in 2015, which marked Evans’ final professional race, it has been broadcast in more than 140 countries.
The last staging of the event in 2020 attracted more than 120,000 fans, with more than half (57 per cent) travelling from outside the region.
“I’m so excited that the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race will be back in January 2023,” Evans said on Saturday.
“I can’t wait to welcome the world’s elite cyclists and thousands of visitors back to my hometown.”
Tourism Greater Geelong and Bellarine executive director Brett Ince hailed the confirmation of the seventh edition of CEGORR.
“It is a really important event to elevate road cycling not only in our region but also in Australia,” he said.
“This is a really big drawcard for the cycling community but also from a general visitor point of view to have Barwon Heads profiled in the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race.
“It’s a significant opportunity with how we’re able to link Geelong with the Bellarine and with the Surf Coast, and to celebrate the Great Ocean Road as part of the overall event as well.”
He said CEGORR being locked in until at least 2025 gave the region a “significant lever” to attract not only the competing international cycling teams but also international visitors.
“The broadcast opportunity to profile the region is spectacular not just for the beaches and coastal villages, but also to showcase Geelong in a very different light when you see that climb up Challambra, and when you see aerial shots of the rivers.
“I think there’s a lot of people that make Cadel’s race an annual event they come to every year to celebrate cycling, and part of it is to reconnect with those people; we know they’ll be back more than ever.”
The 2023-2025 CEGORR events will continue to offer equal prizemoney for elite women and men.
UCI President David Lappartient said the CEGORR races remained part of the UCI’s two leading series of professional road races for men and women – the UCI WorldTour and UCI Women’s WorldTour – which were “reserved for the most prestigious events in the world”.
“Named after one of Australia’s great cyclists, they will provide a wonderful showcase for our sport and our hosts in Victoria.”