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Towards Zero Race Torquay, the one-day precursor to the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, is taking a step up in its first year on the Surf Coast.
The race was held at Melbourne’s Albert Park Formula 1 circuit for its first three years — known then as Race Melbourne — but in 2020 it heads south to Torquay for the first time. In moving to a longer circuit, the event has earned a UCI classification for the first time — a third-tier UCI 1.1 ranking for both men and women.
In announcing the upgrade today, race organisers also revealed the course the riders will tackle in the 2020 edition. The 13.3 km circuit heads west out of Torquay on the iconic Great Ocean Road, before swinging north, east, and then south along the coast back into Torquay. The elite women will cover eight laps of the course for a total of 104 km while the men’s race will feature 10 laps for a total of 130 km.
“This very spectator friendly course will ensure fast and dynamic racing, with the riders guaranteed to be attacking as they punch over the two short climbs on the back of the circuit,” said race director Scott Sunderland. “Then it’s a quick straight descent to Horseshoe Bend Road before reaching The Esplanade and the beautiful beaches where the peloton passes the finish line in the heart of Torquay.
“With Towards Zero Race Torquay being sanctioned by the UCI as 1.1 classification, world ranking points are up for grabs in both the women’s and men’s races. Team tactics will not only be focused on victory, but gaining maximum points available.”
Race Torquay’s upgrade is the latest in a series of positive steps for the Australian women’s road calendar. In 2020, the Santos Women’s Tour Down Under will move up to the new 2.Pro ranking, Cadel’s Race itself will be part of the Women’s WorldTour for the first time, and the Lexus of Blackburn Women’s Herald Sun Tour will step up to UCI 2.1 ranking.
As a UCI 1.1 event, the women’s Race Torquay must feature between one and five Women’s WorldTeams. It will also be open to Women’s Continental teams, national teams, and regional and club teams. The men’s Race Torquay will be open to a maximum of 50% WorldTeams (formerly WorldTour teams), plus ProTeams (formerly Pro Continental), Continental teams, and national teams.
Towards Zero Race Torquay will be held on Thursday January 30 with elite women racing from midday until 2:45pm, and elite men racing from 4:45pm to 7:45pm. The carnival continues on the weekend with the women’s Cadel’s Race on Saturday February 1 and the men’s event the day after.