Half of the 18 teams registered for the men’s WorldTour in 2016 will be in attendance at the second edition of the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race in January next year.
At today’s launch of the 2016 event, Cadel Evans confirmed that his former BMC team would return to the race, as too would Australian-registered WorldTour outfit Orica-GreenEdge, Team Sky, Katusha, Trek Factory Racing and IAM Cycling. Fellow WorldTour teams Lotto Soudal and LottoNL-Jumbo will make their first appearance while the newly promoted Dimension Data squad will also be on the startline having attended the race in 2015 as ProContinental squad MTN-Qhubeka.
The nine WorldTour teams that will race in 2016 is one more than attended in 2015. Cadel Evans, who rode his last race as a pro in the inaugural event in February this year, said he was looking forward to watching the teams battle it out.
“To have nine of the best cycling teams in the world travelling to Victoria is fantastic and I am sure like last time they will enjoy the challenges and unique style of racing that our course and conditions provide,” Evans said. “I can’t wait to see it unfold.”
Among the riders confirmed to be taking part in the 2016 Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race are Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) and 2015 Tour Down Under winner Rohan Dennis (BMC). At this stage it appears that the winner of the first edition of the race, Gianni Meersman, won’t defend his title as his Etixx-Quick-Step team is not among the WorldTour teams that has been confirmed as attending.
Five ProContinental teams have also been announced for the 2016 Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race: Drapac, UnitedHealthcare, Novo Nordisk, One Pro Cycling, and CCC-Sprandi-Polkowice. An Australian national team has also been confirmed as taking part. Further team announcements are expected in January when Continental licenses are finalised.
The second edition of the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race will be raced as a 1.HC event — the second highest ranking for a one-day race behind WorldTour events — after being upgraded from its 1.1 classification after its first year. The higher classification means as many as 14 WorldTour teams could be on the startlist (up from 10 last year) but enticing teams to stay in Australia after the Tour Down Under (with the European season looming) has proven difficult for race organisers.
The weekend of the 2016 Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race features a mass participation ride on the morning of Saturday January 30, followed by a National Road Series-level women’s race in the afternoon. The men’s race will be held on Sunday January 31 and will feature the same course as last year.