Melbourne-Warrnambool classic seeks more local engagement

Cycling Victoria’s (CV) aims to put the Melbourne to Warrnambool Cycling Classic event “back on the map” with the Warrnambool community, CV chief executive Paul Jane says.

Mr Jane said CV’s first experience this year in running the race had been a positive one but the event needed to engage more with the local community.

CV took over the running of the event this year after the race went through a series of management changes in recent years.

“The Melbourne to Warrnambool is such an iconic event. We are committed to it. We picked it up this year because we could not have it not run,” Mr Jane said.

CV had been keen to get this year’s event “over the line” before it conducted a full review aimed at growing the event, he said.

Among the things to be considered were augmenting the race with other events such as a BMX race that could lift the economic return to Warrnambool, the date and the route, he said.

Mr Jane said the review would consider when would be the best time to hold the race to attract the best cyclists.

Currently some of Australia’s best cyclists were competing in Europe, he said. Holding it in October also meant entrants had to train during winter, which was not appealing to many cyclists.

Changes to the route that would allow more of the south-west’s beautiful landscape to be highlighted in video coverage would also be considered, Mr Jane said.

Past event organiser, John Craven, said CV had done a tremendous job in presenting the race after it had been in “grave doubt” six months ago. The competitiveness and speed of this year’s race had been “brilliant,” he said.

But Mr Craven said the race should be better promoted and a second race held on Sunday to keep more riders in Warrnambool for the weekend.

The races would never be profit-makers but government should recognise the financial contribution they made to the region, he said.



Posted by Steve Aberline