The preparations are complete for Saturday's Eastmon Digital Photo Stores Grafton to Inverell Cycle Classic, considered by many to be Australia's toughest one day road race. 200 cyclists will tackle the 228km course starting in Prince Street, Grafton at around 7:30am, and the first riders will finish in Otho Street, Inverell around 2:30pm.
The combined B, C and D Grades along with 16 women competitors will be the first to leave at 7:30. This combined group will contain over 150 riders with 31 in B grade, 55 for C grade and D grade will have 52 riders. Riders ranging from 20 years old to 71 year old Peter Brown from Port Macquarie make up the record field. Ambitions at the start line vary from taking a prestigious victory in the A Grade elite race to finishing in a personal best time. In the case of 1974 winner, Bryan Ferris from Queensland, it will be taking part in his 24th race. Ferris' aim is to be the rider with the most starts in the Classic's history. All these riders are what make the Grafton to Inverell the race all Australian cyclists want to ride, even if it is only once.
Newly crowned Australian National Club Champion Peter Herzig from Queensland will be one of the favourites in the Eastmon Digital A Grade. Herzig won the title last Saturday on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland, beating Joe McDonnell and 2004 Grafton to Inverell winner Peter McDonald, both from Sydney. National U/23 title winner Simon Clarke (Vic) will also in the A grade and will be looking to follow in the footsteps of the fourteen previous winners from Victoria. Top NSW riders such as Klayten Smith, Ben Brooks and Trent Wilson will be out to take the win in their state's premier race. Wilson, along with South Australian Russell Van Hout, have just returned from Italy where they have been racing with Colombia Selle Italia on the pro circuit, and will surely be amongst the favourites to be on the podium in Inverell.