An elite team of Victorians, fresh from racing in Europe and America are heading to Sydney, Australia, in a bid to steal line honours in New South Wales' oldest and greatest race, the 170 kilometre, 2005 Goulburn to Sydney Cycle Classic to be held on Sunday, September 25.
Professional cyclist, David McKenzie will lead fellow Victorians, Andrew Naylor, Aaron Salisbury and Richard England in a traditional grudge race against NSW riders which dates back to 1903, when D. Cupples beat Ossie Brook, a Goulburn 17 year-old for fastest time. Since then Victoria has regularly invaded the race with champions including the great Sir Hubert Opperman and 'Fatty' Lamb in the 1920s, Ernie Millikin in the 1930s and in more recent times, Ric Patterson the 1986 winner, and Tom Leaper in 1999.
NSW riders, including triple world champion, current Olympic Champion and World Record holder, Stephen Wooldridge, who has just returned from Germany, Richard Moffatt, Trent Wilson, Russell Van Hout, Tom Brook, and Ben Brooks, who have returned from Europe and America, will join other locals Peter Hatton (under 23 national champion) and former Australian national champion Eddie Salas to defend the state's honour.
McKenzie has described the timing of the 170km Goulburn to Sydney cycle race as "perfect" for preparations for Victoria's Herald Sun Tour. "When I was younger, I followed the Goulburn to Sydney race and it always was and remains a prestigious event, one I'd compare to races I've ridden in Europe," said McKenzie.
In a polite dig at those "north of the border", McKenzie claims some of the road surfaces in New south Wales to be "dead and slow" and his training has had to be tailored accordingly. David and his team will be flown up from Victoria by HLP group's corporate helicopter in the belief that they will be in better condition than their rival starters on race day September 25th.
"The start list comprises a crackerjack field," said McKenzie, a winner of a stage in the 2000 Giro d'Italia. There will be no love lost as he lines up next to his former teammates Trent Wilson and Ben Brooks, both NSW riders.
In response to the Victorian's comments Trent Wilson said, "We're going to drop 'Macca' (David McKenzie) on Razorback. If he's in the finish with us, where in trouble."
Racing starts in Goulburn at 8:30am and will travel through Mittagong and Picton, reaching the Razorback Range around 11:30 am, and is due to finish in Camden's main street at 12:15 pm where an all day festival is planned.