The 'Australian Classics' season continues this Saturday as riders head to the northern NSW town of Grafton for the 48th edition of the Graton to Inverell Cycling Classic.
Teams to watch in this year's 228km race include Virgin Blue, SouthAustralia.com-AIS and Jayco-VIS, in addition to perennial attendees NSWIS-Panasonic and Savings & Loans. And for the first time German Continental outfit LKT-Team-Brandenburg brings an international flavour to proceedings.
Over 700 Grafton school children will get the chance to meet the riders from the Cottbus-based team, which boasts an Olympic gold medalist in Roger Kluge, who recently won his medal at the Beijing Games.
The German team will visit several schools and display their artistic side, judging the finalists of the always-popular 'colouring in competition'.
New boys Team Budget Forklifts will be on the start line on Saturday, and with Michael England taking second at last weekend's Goulburn to Citi Classic, the squad boasts experience and in-form riders capable of featuring in the finish.
Adding prestige to the event is the Jayco-VIS squad, with head coach Dave Sanders bringing a strong complement of riders to tackle the tough Gibraltar Range that often decides the outcome. Track stars Glenn O'Shea and Sean Finning plus Nick Walker - another of the talented Walker family - spearhead the Victorian charge.
"We are hoping that our strong team can have some breakthrough rides in the Grafton to Inverell," said Sanders, adding that, "We are very pleased to be able to include this prestigious NSW event on the Jayco-VIS schedule this year."