The fourth edition of the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race in Geelong, Australia sees the men's edition retain its WordTour status while the women's event is set to be upgraded to UCI 1.1 status.
The men's race started at UCI 1.1 level in 2015, moving to 1.HC in 2016 and then joining the WorldTour ranks in 2017. The women's race meanwhile was not a sanctioned UCI event in 2015 but in 2016 it was awarded 1.2 status and, like the men's race, has now improved its classification which will allow the event to invite high quality teams.
The women and men's races will be held on the same course as the first three editions, starting and finishing in Geelong. The women's race will be held January 27 and the men's on January 28. The Towards Zero Race Melbourne Albert Park F1 course returns in 2018 and will be held Thursday, January 25.
“The Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race has shown itself over three years in its progression to WorldTour status, to be an event with a contemporary approach to sport," UCI Vice President, Tracey Gaudry said. "Further, the provisional upgrade to UCI 1.1 Classification will see the Deakin University Elite Women’s Race become an even more important fixture on the UCI Women’s Road Cycling Calendar, offering Australian fans the opportunity to see the best of women’s cycling on an international scale."
Cadel Evans was also on hand at the launch in Geelong explaining it gives him great pleasure to see the sporting and cultural growth of the event.
"Of course it is great to see more and more of the world’s best elite men and women coming to contest our races, as it is that, along with the iconic race locations, that is driving us toward our goal of becoming modern day classics and obtaining international exposure," said Evans. "But I am extremely proud of how the event engages our broader community, provides participation opportunities for all and sends important societal messages in the areas of health, gender equality and road safety."
In 2018, the women's race will again be sponsored by Deakin University. Orica-Scott has won the last two editions of the race while the men's race is yet to see an Australia winner.
Along with the Tour Down Under, the men's Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race is the only WorldTour even in the South Hemisphere. The Tour Down Under celebrates its 20th edition in 2017 and is held the week before the one-day Geelong race.