Tour of the Southwest

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With criterium and track season in the summer and road season in the winter, we’re often starved for good multi-stage events while the weather is still half decent. I used to love competing in the Tour of Coleraine and the Tour of Canberra in April/May but unfortunately they’re no longer running (not this year at least). Luckily there’s a new option only a short drive away near Warrnambool in the last weekend of April.

The Tour of the Southwest is being organised and promoted by the Warrnambool city council. In conjunction with Cycling Victoria, they identified a gap in the cycling calendar and figured Warrnambool was a perfect destination to host a cycling tour. With information in hand, Rebecca Elmes (Warrnambool events promotion and coordinator) approached the Warrnambool Cycling Club to become the event promoters and council would assist with traffic management and logistics. Although they were happy to provide some assistance, as a small club they did not have the capacity to become the event promoters. Hence, Warrnambool City Council decided to take on the role of event promoter.

After speaking with Rebecca at length about this tour it became very apparent to me how massive of an undertaking that running a relatively small three-stage tour is. Traffic management (which costs over $15k alone), organising volunteers, council permits, course routes, etc. Many people mistake Cycling Victoria for being an event organiser and promoter for open races which is not the case (they are a sanctioning body). Most of these races are run and promoted by volunteers on a shoestring budget. I’ll write a post sometime on the cost breakdowns for a race and you’ll understand why prize money is what it is.

If you’re looking for a good road-trip away with plenty of good racing to get the legs going for the upcoming road season, look no further!

**click here to find out more and to enter** Entries close on April 22.

Media Release :: Anchor Point Tour of the South West

April 28-29, 2012

Victorian cyclists are gearing up for what is set to become the annual warm-up to the State’s winter cycling season.

Warrnambool City Council will present the inaugural Anchor Point Tour of the South West on the last weekend of April.

Set over three stages and two days, the tour will challenge cyclists with the tough and hilly terrain of the city of Warrnambool and rural townships of the Moyne Shire.

The tour is the first of its kind for the south-west, complementing the iconic Melbourne to Warrnambool and Shipwreck Coast cycling classics, as well as Australia’s oldest stage race The Herald Sun Tour – which the region last hosted in 2009.

Endorsed by Cycling Victoria, the event is open to all cyclists who hold a current Cycling Australia racing membership.

Warrnambool City Council events and promotion co-ordinator Rebecca Elmes said the search2retain cycling team had been confirmed as starters for the event.

search2retain cycling team director, Peter Shandon said the team had enjoyed great success racing in the region over the past few years, with Luke Fetch placing third in The  Eastern Oak Melbourne to Warrnambool Cycling Classic in 2011.

“We always enjoy racing in the area,” Shandon said.

Team manager Mark Isaacs said he has fond memories of racing in Warrnambool and that the region always provided great local support.

He said search2retain had put together a really strong team and that riders were all looking forward to the event.

Ms Elmes said the tour would provide an opportunity for cycling enthusiasts to enjoy their sport in a friendly and welcoming environment and promote Warrnambool as a great weekend cycling destination.

“We have developed exciting and unique courses which will showcase the region and challenge the skills of all cyclists,” she said.

The first stage will begin from the Wangoom Recreation Reserve, with riders completing a 30km return course and 17km circuit with short but tough climbs and likely ‘Warrnambool winds’.

It will be followed be an undulating 12.7km individual time trial circuit, sure to prove decisive in determining the overall tour winner in each division.

The third and final stage – the Optus Criterium – will be the queen stage of the tour presenting a challenging course around the Hopkins River, sure to provide an exciting finale.

Warrnambool’s newest retirement village Anchor Point is the major sponsor of the 2012 event.

Managing Director Tim Scarborough is a keen cyclist and was eager to support the tour in its founding year.

“It is a great pleasure to support the Tour of the South West,” he said.

“We are looking forward to welcoming locals and visitors alike to ride and race in our region.”

Cycling Victoria, Yes’ Optus, Logos Ahead, The Standard, Ace Radio, Bicycle Superstore, Callaghan Motors, Ryans Transport and Budget Forklifts join Anchor Point as sponsors of the events.

Footage of the first day’s racing action will be screened at the inaugural Tour of the South West dinner at Lady Bay Resort on Saturday April 28.

Tickets are just $21 per person and accommodation packages are available at reduced rates.

Registrations for the tour are now open at  Entries Close April 22.

Tour schedule

Saturday April 28 – Road Race

Start – 10am Wangoom Recreation Reserve, Wangoom

Finish – Wangoom Recreation Reserve, Wangoom (ETA 1.30pm)
A Grade – 115 km, B Grade – 98km C Grade – 81km

Saturday April 28 – Individual Time Trial – 12.7km circuit

Start – 2.30pm Wangoom Recreation Reserve, Wangoom

Finish – Wangoom Recreation Reserve, Wangoom (ETA 4.30pm)

Sunday April 29 – Optus Criterium

Start/Finish – 9am Simpson Street, Warrnambool

A Grade – 60mins + 3 laps, B Grade – 50mins + 3 laps, C Grade – 40mins + 3 laps

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