The Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race elite races will double down on the successful course changes from 2023, inviting teams to attack the dynamic route and showcase Victoria’s Surf Coast to the world.
The first one-day classics of the 2024 UCI WorldTour calendar promise to be thrilling and fiercely contested rides as the world’s best gear up to navigate the scenic landscapes of Geelong, the Bellarine Peninsula and Surf Coast over the January 27-28 weekend.
After making some adjustments from previous years and running the race in the opposite direction in its 2023 return, organisers liked what the new course offered and have stuck with the edited 176 km WorldTour Elite Men’s and 143 km Deakin University Elite Women’s routes.
Both races earlier this year yielded thrilling finishes when Marius Mayrhofer (Germany, Team DSM) and Loes Adegeest (Netherlands, FDJ-Suez) took out their respective men’s and women’s titles in bunch sprints.
Race Director Scott Sunderland said the course is a treat for fans and riders alike.
Its variable layout rolls with any weather conditions and offers an opportunity for all types of riders to win, while the teams’ familiarity with the course provides directors and riders ample opportunity to plan, strategise and attack next year’s race.
“What teams want from a course and how they prepare for our race is always a big consideration,” Sunderland said.
“The teams were very happy with the course. The course created an opportunity for riders to choose how they raced. It ticks all the boxes from a high-performance perspective.
“There will be no surprises, so they can plan well in advance and bring in a little bit more strategy and tactics. They’ll prepare themselves well before their training runs during event week, and that will influence rider selection and who will lead.”
With the start and finish at the Geelong waterfront, the course winds and climbs its way through Highton, Ceres, Barrabool and Moriac before diverting to the coast.
Echelons are expected as the peloton transverses the picturesque but exposed Thirteenth Beach stretch, subjecting the riders to the elements and bringing out the best in team racing.
Adding to the drama and excitement of competition will be the Geelong city loop which includes the iconic and punchy ascent of Challambra. The multiple 830m climb sequence is a pivotal phase in the race and presents an ideal opportunity for breakaways in the turn for the finish.
Presented by Visit Victoria, the men’s and women’s one-day classics are the major drawcards in the weekend-long cycling festival which will again see Geelong come alive with excitement and energy for spectators, families and cyclists alike.
Cyclists inspired by the feats of the pros can experience their own greatness by pedalling our world-famous roads on two wheels and ride alongside Australia’s only Tour de France winner Cadel Evans with registrations already open for the 2024 TAC People’s Ride.