By Malcolm Sawford
Billed as the 'World's Fastest' street race series, the Jayco Bay Cycling Classic (and its erstwhile promoter John Trevorrow) is renowned for attracting a star-studded line up of Australia's leading professional riders all keen to kick off the year with a bang. This year, three of the five stages will be held in Geelong, the city which will host the 2010 World Road Championships.
Stage 1 kicks off in Williamstown on Wednesday, with the tortuous Port Arlington circuit on Thursday, before the final three stages in Geelong. Stage 3 is a twilight hot dog circuit on the waterfront, while Stage 4 is a new circuit to the Classic. The course is entirely within Eastern Park, around the Botanical Gardens, and at two kilometers in length with long straights it should allow strong riders a chance to shine.
The final stage also covers roads within Eastern Park, but is much shorter and features two technical corners and a nasty climb to the finish line outside the entrance to the Botanical Gardens.
Melbourne's weather is predicted to be fine throughout. A near perfect 25 degrees for Stage 1, but steadily increasing to the high of 37 on Saturday before a cooler day for the thousands of recreational riders who are expected to join the professionals for Amy's Ride, the Amy Gillett Memorial ride, which proceeds the final stage.