The 2005 edition of Australia's Herald-Sun Tour, which was recently launched by Victorian state premier Steve Bracks, will have a different and, organisers hope, better format than recent editions of the race.
The race will now last just seven days, instead of the previous 11, and will have teams of eight riders, increased from five. There will be 20 teams instead of 16, making for a 160-strong peloton. The split stages of previous races are also gone, replaced with a more modern one-stage-per-day format.
The race will include a stage through the Yarra Valley, a dash up Mt Dandenong and a street circuit finishing in Melbourne's Lygon Street, with a revitalised 'Celebration on Lygon' festival.
"The Herald Sun Tour is more than a bike race - it's also a chance to display the best of Victoria's regions to the world," Mr Bracks said.
"Every town joins in activities involving the entire community, with the dedicated and the not so serious able to join the tour, finishing with a festival on Lygon Street.
"Organisers have sought the views of Australia's best cyclists to come up with a revised, seven-day Tour - the changes will ensure this year's race will attract a great line-up of riders and professional teams."
Top Australian riders set to take part in this year's race include Brad McGee and Baden Cooke. Cooke won here in 2002, a victory that is widely considered to have helped him gain a European contract the following year, when he won the green points jersey in the Tour de France.
The race will be sponsored for the next three years by Jayco, as well as being supported by Regional Development Victoriaand VicHealth's 'Go for your Life' program.
There will be four public participation events including a charity concert at Mitchelton Winery, a mass-participation 'Gran Fondo' ride around the Yarra Valley, a Dash for Cash up Mt Dandenong and the 'Celebrate on Lygon' festival on the final day.
The 2005 Jayco-Herald Sun Tour starts Sunday October 9 in Williamstown and will travel to Bendigo, Shepparton, Marysville, Healesville, Mt Dandenong and finishes in Lygon St, Melbourne Saturday October 15.