The UCI has confirmed that the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race has been upgraded to 1.HC status for 2016 in what is only the second edition of the one-day race.
The upgrade from 1.1 to 1.HC status was flagged in July by event organisers but was only confirmed by the sport’s governing body at the UCI Management Committee meeting at the Road World Championships in Richmond, USA last week.
Victoria’s Minister for Sport, Tourism and Major Events, John Eren, welcomed the confirmation.
“It is a tribute to the success of the inaugural Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race and is a vote of confidence from cycling’s world governing body that the event has been granted 1.HC Classification in its second year,” Mr Eren said.
“We look forward to hosting even more UCI WorldTour teams and introducing some of the world’s best cyclists to one of the most spectacular courses in world cycling.”
As a 1.1-classified event, the inaugural Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race was able to have up to half of its team list made up of WorldTour teams. In the end eight WorldTour teams were in attendance of the 21 teams that started the race.
The upgrade to 1.HC status in 2016 — the second highest classification behind WorldTour events — means up to 65% of the teams list (14 of 21 teams) can be WorldTour teams. The remaining places will be filled by Pro Continental teams, Continental teams and Australian national squads.
WorldTour teams BMC and Orica-GreenEdge have already confirmed their participation in the event, while Katusha, IAM Cycling and Lotto Soudal are expected to confirm in the near future.
The 2016 Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race will be held on Sunday January 31, a week after the Santos Tour Down Under finishes in Adelaide. A women’s race will be held the day before the elite men’s event, likely as part of the National Road Series as it was in 2015. The course for both the men’s and women’s race is unchanged from 2015.
The inaugural men’s Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race was won by Gianni Meersman (Etixx-Quick-Step) in a reduced bunch sprint. The women’s event was won by Rachel Neylan in a solo breakaway.