In an Australian first, the Deakin University Elite Women’s Road Race will be part of the prestigious UCI Women’s WorldTour calendar in 2020. It will take a versatile rider who can battle cross winds, conquer punchy climbs and hit high speeds in the final sprint to win!
2019 winner: Arlenis Sierra (Astana Women’s Team)
Average speed: 36.3 km/h
Entry: Free to watch
When the peloton departs the picturesque Geelong waterfront and the flag drops, the riders charge south towards the Surf Coast.
After passing Bells Beach they veer off the Great Ocean Road and loop back to town where the celebrated Challambra Climb awaits. After the climb there’s a good chance of a separation and the day could go to the best climbing sprinter or the climber with the best sprint!
The first town on the course is the hamlet of Barwon Heads, home to Cadel Evans when he is in Australia, located at the mouth of the Barwon River. Barwon Heads is known for its quiet river beaches, friendly cafes and fishing opportunities galore. Expect large crowds lining the main street and at key viewing locations as this sleepy hamlet comes alive to support their cycling heroes.
The surfers at Thirteenth Beach will watch in awe as the peloton passes by this 4.5 kilometre stretch of beach at pace. The potential strong offshore winds will test the peloton here.
As the race winds its way from Thirteenth Beach to Torquay the riders will look to one another to see who wants to do the work on the front. A long stretch will see the riders exposed to the elements as they depart the beautiful Bellarine and its farmgates, wineries and provedores to the Surf Coast.
Torquay is the official start of the Great Ocean Road, Australia’s surfing mecca and an important part of the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race. The many families, swimmers and surfers who gather at the busy beaches in Torquay will pause as the colourful peloton passes by. The Esplanade will be lined with spectators cheering on their favourite teams.
The race winds on and off the Great Ocean Road as it make its way toward the iconic Bells Beach, home of the World Surf League Rip Curl Pro. The rolling hills toward the coast are the first real test for the riders, and teams will begin to get a sense of how they are positioned within the race and compete for the first Queen of the Mountain prize.
Along the Bells Beach coastline, there is no chance for the riders to take in the stunning scenery of the coast and beaches overlooked by cliff tops – this is where the race begins to heat up.
As the race re-enters Geelong, the teams will be seriously thinking about their strategy toward the finale. The Challambra Climb is a short but testing climb that pushes riders to the limit and local residents and cycling fans will be lining the street as they get to see the world’s best pass by their front door and memories of the hugely successful 2010 UCI Road Worlds will return.
The fastest point in the race is the descent down Scenic Road, touching speeds of nearly 85 kilometres per hour to Queens Park where the race crosses the Barwon River via the heritage listed Queens Bridge. Teams should not underestimate the two pinch climbs that follow the famous Challambra climb and Scenic Road descent, as the course makes its way out of Queens Park and heads toward the Geelong Waterfront.
The finish is a fast one, provided the sprinters are still intact. Look for a bunch sprint finish that will test the teams to the end, while thousands of spectators will line the Geelong waterfront in what is a truly magnificent spectacle and a fitting place to crown the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race champion.
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