For the first time in the event’s six year history, a new start and finish will greet the 112 entrants for the 2006 Baw Baw Classic in Victoria, Australia, on Saturday, April 1, 2006. But the main feature of the 94.5 km race will remain: a final six kilometre surge up an incredibly steep (12% average gradient) sealed road section. Bedfore that, competitors will race 88 km through the Deli Region of Jindivick, Neerim South, Noojee, Icy Creek and Tanjil Bren.
This year's Baw Baw Classic will start at the West Gippsland Arts Centre, located next to the Baw Baw Shire Council offices who are event sponsors. The finish location remains the top of Mt Baw Baw, but will shift from the traditional carpark finish to the new Village Central venue, located opposite the Baw Baw Hotel.
The legend of Baw Baw and its final six kilometres have grown each year among the cycle racing fraternity since the event began in 2001. Prior to this the road was an unpaved gravel track used to access Mt Baw Baw and was popular with mountain bikers. The Herald Sun Tour used the course as a feature in two previous Tours, proving to be decisive stages for the overall winner Victorian Baden Cooke in 2002 and Swede Jonas Ljungblad in the 2004 Tour. The Classic has attracted a number of high profile and up-and-coming athletes to race, including multiple Herald Sun Tour stage winner David McKenzie, Barcelona Olympian Robert Crowe, and Simon Gerrans. In 2003 and as a little known cyclist, Gerrans won the Baw Baw Classic. Since then he has gone onto bigger and better things, competing in last year’s Tour de France, winning the Herald Sun Tour and Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under, and gaining selection to ride for Australia at the Commonwealth Games until a complication from an injury sustained earlier this year ruled him out for the road race.
More information: www.bawbawclassic.com