The organisers of the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race have announced the return of the mid-week races for its 2024 edition, last held in 2020. For the first time, both Men’s and Women’s teams will compete on separate days in these races, serving as the official lead-up to the main event.
The Geelong Classic, set for Wednesday, 24 January 2024, will feature Elite Women racing 25 laps of a 2km circuit around Geelong Botanical Gardens and Waterfront. This criterium format, including a small climb each lap, promises dynamic and aggressive racing. The course allows multiple viewing points for spectators.
The following day, the Surf Coast Classic will see elite men’s teams racing from Lorne to Torquay. This race, with a 1.1 classification from UCI, includes a challenging 10km uphill climb over a 150km course, promising fast-paced entertainment.
Scott Sunderland, Race Director, expressed excitement about reintroducing mid-week races, highlighting them as perfect tune-ups for teams. He described the Geelong Classic as over an hour of relentless, aggressive racing with a six per cent gradient uphill offering opportunities for a solo win. He also emphasised the importance of the Surf Coast Classic’s 1.1 classification and the chance for riders to earn world ranking points.
Brendan McClements, CEO of Visit Victoria, welcomed the addition of these events, noting their potential to attract visitors to the region. He highlighted the mid-week races as challenges for the world’s best riders, providing a picturesque backdrop for spectators and promoting Geelong and Surf Coast.
The Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, supported by Visit Victoria and the Victorian State Government, is a major event on Australia’s calendar. Notably, men and women riders will compete for equal prize money in these races.
The full event schedule includes the Geelong Classic on 24 January, the Surf Coast Classic on 25 January, followed by the GeelongPort Family Ride, TAC People’s Ride, Deakin University Elite Women’s Road Race, and culminating with the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race Elite Men’s Race on 28 January.