A horde of top-ranked Aussie cyclists will headline the 2023 Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, with Michael Matthews and Alex Manly confirming their return to Geelong and the Surf Coast.
Both Matthews and Manly will be riding for the Australian-based UCI WorldTour team Jayco AlUla in their respective Elite Men’s and Women’s squads.
Setting the standard as two of the fastest riders on the tour, the pair will be strong contenders at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race with the one-day classic format suiting their strengths.
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Matthews is one of Australia’s most decorated cyclists and is looking forward to returning to the Great Ocean Road.
Over his illustrious career, the 32-year-old has won four stages of the Tour De France; multiple stages of the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España; four WorldTour one-day classics, and three road race medals at the UCI World Championships.
“I always have great memories returning to Geelong after winning the Under 23 UCI Road World Championships back in 2010. It’s a special place for me to race,” Matthews said.
“The Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race is always a really hard race, everyone usually comes out of the TDU in great shape and the course is very dynamic and challenging, so I’m sure after a two-year absence the racing will be even harder than before.
“Everybody is so motivated, and we have a great team so it’s going to be a good day out and I can’t wait to race again in front of all the fans in Geelong.”
Manly is also eager to compete for the Deakin University Elite Women’s title this January, after having a remarkable 2022 season which saw her return to the road full-time after representing Australia on the track at the Tokyo Olympic Games.
The 26-year-old won four of six stages at the 2022 Internationale LOTTO Thüringen Ladies Tour in Germany, which saw her take overall honours. Her strong sprinting ability was on display all year in 2022, as Manly won a total of five races in a nail-biting sprint to the finish line.
She’s moved to #23 in the UCI World Rankings, just nine spots behind countrywoman and confirmed Deakin University Elite Women’s starter Grace Brown (FDJ Suez Futuroscope).
“I’m really excited to be able to race at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, it’s been a while since I last raced there and it was sad that the race wasn’t able to go ahead the last couple of years. It’s such a beautiful, yet hard race that has a bit of everything. It’s a hard course that will suit our team well,” Manly said.
“We will have an all-Australian line-up. Racing in front of a home crowd is very special for us and something we really enjoy.
“We know it is going to be an extremely high level of racing, and I can’t wait to get there! Hopefully, the home advantage will help us.”
Team Jayco AlUla’s men’s start list is stacked with Australian cycling talent including dual Giro d’Italia stage winner and former national road race champion Luke Durbridge and newly crowned national criterium champ Kelland O’Brien.
The Aussie contingent will be well supported by Britain’s Simon Yates who has achieved plenty in the Grand Tour circuit.
While on Team Jayco AlUla’s women’s start list, Manly will be joined on the course by Amber Pate fresh from her first professional triumph at last weekend’s National Champs in Ballarat where she took out the criterium ahead of Manly in an impressive final lap assault.
The Deakin University Elite Women’s and UCI WorldTour Elite Men’s races are feature events over the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, a three-day cycling extravaganza that weaves its way through the scenic roads of the Geelong, Bellarine, and Surf Coast regions.
Cycling fans and enthusiasts can not only watch some of Australia’s and the world’s best battle it out, they can ride the same roads as the elites in the VEGEMITE Family Ride (Friday 27 January) and TAC People’s Ride (Saturday 28 January).
More Australian riders for other teams are still to be announced – stay tuned to our channels for more news soon.
Team Jayco AlUla line-ups:
- Luke Durbridge (AUS)
- Lucas Hamilton (AUS)
- Chris Harper (AUS)
- Blake Quick (AUS)
- Kelland O’Brien (AUS)
- Michael Matthews (AUS)
- Simon Yates (GBR)
- Alex Manly (AUS)
- Amber Pate (AUS)
- Alyssa Polites (AUS)
- Georgie Howe (AUS)
- Jessica Allen (AUS)
- Ruby Roseman-Gannon (AUS)