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A new three year partnership between the Victorian Government and the Jayco Herald Sun Tour was announced today by Premier Denis Napthine.
The 2015 event will be staged from Wednesday 4th to Sunday 8th February and is a UCI 2.1 level event.
“I am pleased to announce the Victorian Government will extend its funding for a further three years to 2017 which is a reflection of its importance to our State as a great sporting event and also a fantastic economic generator for our regions in particular,” Dr Napthine said of the Tour.
Tom Salom, chairman of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour organising committee, said the event will aim to build on the momentum created during last year’s event, and also confirmed that Jayco will return as the event naming rights sponsor in 2015.
“Last year with a new date and an opening prologue in the city centre the event reached new heights. In 2015 we aim to build further on those foundations with the strong support of the Victorian Government, with Jayco back on board as a co-naming rights sponsor, and the continued recognition as a UCI 2.1 level event,” Salom said.
“The ‘Sun Tour’ has been part of our DNA for over 60 years. It has created new generations of Australian cycling champions and is unique in that it combines the best international riders with the best teams and riders in Australia which contributes significantly to the development of our rising cycling stars,” Salom added.
Jayco’s Gerry Ryan surprised even the event organisers announcing that the Jayco sponsorship, originally set for one year, will match the term of the Victorian Government funding.
“I am very proud today to announce not only will we be the sponsors for 2015, but we also extend our sponsorship for the next three years,” Ryan announced.
In another major boost to the event, Australian team ORICA-GreenEDGE is confirmed to take part in the Tour, with two riders who have made their mark on the event set to join the peloton – 2014 Australian national champion and UCI road world championships silver medallist Simon Gerrans and 2014 Jayco Herald Sun Tour winner Simon Clarke.
“It’s a fantastic way of setting up my European season, to start the year in good shape off the back of some great racing in Australia,” Gerrans said
“This is where I came from and this is where it all started for me. I think it’s important to give back to these races and give these young kids and cycling fans that watch us every year on the television the opportunity to see us in the flesh and see what we do,” Gerrans said.
The 34-year-old will be joined by fellow Victorian Simon Clarke, who alongside his 2014 Jayco Herald Sun Tour victory boasts an individual stage win at the Vuelta a España. The remaining riders in the ORICA-GreenEDGE team will be announced in the coming months.
Clarke, an all-rounder capable of matching it with the world’s best climbers having won the mountains classifications at the 2012 Vuelta, said the twilight prologue catering to people finishing their work day is a great way to start the 2015 route.
“The idea of a twilight start in the city centre, getting all the people just knocking off work to stop by to have a look is a great idea. To put the cycling to the people and showcase professional cyclists to the people of Melbourne is great,” Clarke said.
Clarke was confident he could repeat his 2014 efforts and defend his title despite the added pressure of being the defending champion.
“Defending a title is always a bit of extra pressure, but we have a great team with ORICA-GreenEDGE and we will field another good team and we will be ready to defend,” Clarke said.
Wednesday 4th to Sunday 8th February 2015
Prologue – Wednesday 4th February – Melbourne Southbank – 2.1km
Stage 1 – Thursday 5th February – Mt Macedon to Bendigo – 152km
Stage 2 – Friday 6th February – Bendigo to Nagambie – 120km
Stage 3 – Saturday 7th February – Mitchelton Winery to Nagambie – 148km
Stage 4 – Sunday 8th February – Arthurs Seat Finale – 125km
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