THE world’s best male and female cyclists have descended on Geelong and will again pedal for glory in this weekend’s Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race (CEGORR).
The fifth edition of the race through Geelong, Barwon Heads, Torquay and Moriac will feature a field of 16 teams in the Elite Men’s Race battling it out in the second event of the 2019 UCI WorldTour, and 15 teams in the UCI 1.1-accredited Elite Women’s Race.
Bora-Hansgrohe rider Jay McCarthy is saddling up to defend his 2018 title and said he would approach this year’s race in the same fashion.
“On the day, we’ll have to check what the conditions are like; obviously the wind can play a big part on the first part of the course. If that’s a lot higher, that can make a big change to the race, but I think generally, it’ll be a very similar look to last year. We’ll race the final few laps pretty aggressively, so for me to come to the line with a small group would suit me the best.”
He rated 2018 CEGORR runner-up Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott) and Michael Valgren (Team Dimension Data) as major threats to his chances.
“The Ardennes-type, punchy riders can also have a great day, and be ones to really watch for.”
Team Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank’s Shannon Malseed hails from near Portland, so the Elite Women’s Race is almost a hometown race for her on the tour.
“I targeted the Nationals back in early January so the form for an Aussie is on the way up, and I think I’m hitting even better form coming into this race, so I’m excited to see what the legs can do,” she said.
Malseed said the course would suit her as an all-rounder, and the strategy was to keep as many of the team as possible together in the front group as it returned to Geelong. “If I can get myself over Challambra, I’ve definitely got a chance in a select bunch sprint.”
Of the other teams, Malseed said the Australian-heavy squads would be in particularly good form, such as Mitchelton-Scott and the Australian Cycling Team-Kordamentha Real Estate.
CEGORR begins today (Thursday January 24) with Race Melbourne at Albert Park in Melbourne, followed by the Family Ride in Geelong tomorrow (Friday), the People’s Ride and Elite Women’s Race on Saturday and the Elite Men’s Race on Sunday.
For more coverage, see page 19. For more information, head to cadelevansgreatoceanroadrace.com.au.