It’s only the first week of January but already the Australian summer of racing is well underway. Starting on January 1 and running for four days, the 2016 Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic (commonly known as the “Bay Crits”) was the 27th edition of the season-opening race. As ever, many of Australia’s best riders were in attendance, as too were a number of international stars.
Beginning on Geelong’s Ritchie Boulevard on New Year’s Day, stage 1 saw Gracie Elvin (Orica-AIS) take a surprise victory in the elite women’s race while Caleb Ewan (Orica-GreenEdge) surprised nobody when he powered to victory. You can read more about stage 1 here.
On stage 2 the riders moved a few hundred metres up the beach to Geelong’s Eastern Gardens where national criterium champion Kimberley Wells (High5 Dream Team) dashed to her first win of the year. In the elite men’s race, Ewan won again, putting himself on track to win a second consecutive Bay Crits title. Here’s our report from stage 2.
On stage 3 the Bay Crits moved down the Bellarine Peninsula to Portalington and the series’ most difficult course. Valentina Scandolara (Ale) overcame the tough climb and strong winds to win the women’s race while domestic veteran Pat Shaw (Avanti IsoWhey) took a long-awaited victory a little later that afternoon. You can read about the stage here.
And on the final day of racing in the Melbourne bayside suburb of Williamstown, Lizzie Williams (Orica-AIS) won solo while Gracie Elvin finished fifth, securing the overall title. Caleb Ewan won his third stage for the week, cementing his third Bay Crits title in four years. Read more about stage 4 here.
Here’s a selection of photos from the four days of racing. Enjoy!