The Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race is thrilled to have welcomed record-breaking crowds to the 2024 event.
With over 140,000 fans in attendance, the Victorian Government is proud to have delivered significant benefits to local businesses and created an electric atmosphere for the Geelong, Surf Coast and Bellarine regions.
Transforming the foreshore of Geelong, the five-day cycling festival provided plenty of action both on and off the course for fans, families and riders.
Showing out in full force, the volunteers again put their exceptional work on show. Over 400 friendly faces welcomed the crowd and made the 2024 edition of the event possible.
Steampacket Gardens welcomed the new Velo Village, which allowed spectators to get up and close to the elite riders while following the action on the big screens. They also enjoyed the sponsor activations, food and beverage pop-ups and live entertainment.
The much-loved GeelongPort Family Ride and TAC People’s Ride were once again a hit, with thousands of everyday cyclists and families riding the same roads as the pros.
Re-introducing the mid-week races saw the Geelong Classic and Surf Coast Classic join a suite of elite racing which included the Deakin University Elite Women’s Road Race and Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race.
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On Friday January 26, the event welcomed over 650 big and small cyclists to pedal the pavement on for the GeelongPort Family Ride.
Riding on a safe, enclosed, flat 1.3km circuit, the warm weather and buzzing atmosphere set the scene as Cadel Evans and the elite riders cheered on the pint-sized pedallers as they sailed through the gantry at the start/finish line.
The TAC People’s Ride, which got underway bright and early on Saturday morning, rounded out the participation events.
With two course options – 113km and 59km – over 3000 riders joined AFLW superstar Daisy Pearce and Cadel Evans on the start line as they found their greatness amongst the scenic roads in the region.
For the first time, the Geelong Classic and Surf Coast Classic were held as two standalone events. They opened the racing calendar for the elite women and men, acting as a perfect tune-up ahead of the weekend.
In a twilight race, the fast and furious peloton raced along the Geelong Botanical Gardens and Waterfront, with Sofia Bertizzolo (UAE Team ADQ) taking the inaugural Geelong Classic title in a downhill sprint ahead of Georgia Baker (LIV AlUla Jayco) and Francessca Barale (Team DSM – Firmenich Post NL).
The following day, the men thundered from Lorne to Torquay for the UCI 1.1 sanctioned Surf Coast Classic.
In a nailing-biting finish, Eritrean superstar Biniam Girmay (Intermaché Wanty) put his sprinting prowess on display for the fans, as he pipped race favourite Elia Viviani (INEOS Grenadiers) and Kiwi-gun Corbin Strong (Israel Premier-Tech) at the finish line.
As proud owners of Australia’s only UCI WorldTour one-day classic cycling races, the event hype reached its climax for the Deakin University Elite Women’s Road Race and Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race across the weekend.
With fans lining the streets and quickly filling the barricades, the ever-popular vantage points were again in full force with banners, flags and chalk drawings.
From watching the cyclists fly down the Esplanade in Torquay and across the Barwon Heads Bridge to tackling the gruelling Challambra climb, spectators also treated themselves to the local amenities of the surf towns and Challambra live site.
Putting on two thrilling finishes, Rosita Reijnhout (Team Visma-Lease a Bike) became the youngest winner of the Deakin University Elite Women’s Road Race at just 19 years old, while Laurence Pithie (Groupama – FDJ) claimed top honours at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race and became the first Kiwi to win a WorldTour one-day classic race.
Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events Steve Dimopoulos said:
“We’re proud to support this iconic event that brings visitors from far and wide to enjoy everything Geelong and the Surf Coast has to offer, and delivers big benefits to local business and the region’s visitor economy,” Dimopoulos said.
Race founder Cadel Evans was over the moon to see cycling fans and locals enjoying the event and is already looking forward to 2025.
“It was amazing to see so many people flock to the Geelong, Surf Coast and Bellarine regions over the week, seeing the excitement and smiles on people’s faces has been really special,” Evans said.
“It has been a great week for the regions and it is always a privilege to see all the teams and riders on these roads again. The exciting finishes to the weekend races capped off what was already a great week.
“I can’t wait for the 2025 event and to see what it will entail – thank you to everyone who made the event possible.”