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Tom Peterson (Garmin-Slipstream) and Leigh Howard (Jayco/AIS) during their breakaway attempt on stage three from Warrnambool to Apollo Bay.
Victorian State Government also pledges future financial support
A record field will contest this weekend’s Melbourne to Warrnambool Cycling Classic, with more than 200 elite men registered to take part in the 262 kilometre event.
Melbourne to Warrnambool is the penultimate race on the Australian National Road Series calendar, where Genesys rider Nathan Haas is currently leading the standings.
Race director John Craven described the entry numbers as amazing.
"The response is a tribute to the bold decisions and enterprising hard work done by the Warrnambool Citizens’ Road Race Committee during the past 16 years," he said. "It’s not just the size of the fields – the quality is pretty special."
Along with Haas; teammates Steele Von Hoff and Pat Shaw, Matthew Lloyd (Fenton Green P/B Spencers Race), Chris Jongewaard (Budget Forklifts) and Chris Jory (Bikebug.Com) will all be racing.
The Victorian State Government has also announced that it will fulfill an election commitment to pledge $200,000 of funding toward the event, released over the next four years. The boost, announced by Minister for Sport and Recreation, Hugh Delahunty, will help to financially secure the event until at least 2014.
"Today’s announcement will ensure Australia’s oldest one-day road cycling event continues to thrive and provide a launch pad for the next generation of road cycling heroes," Delahunty said.
The funding was welcomed by Warrnambool Citizens’ Road Race Committee president Brendan Gleeson who congratulated the Government on its support for one of Australia’s greatest and best-known regional sports events.
"It’s a tremendous morale-booster for our hard-working committee and all associated with the classic," Gleeson said. "The Melbourne to Warrnambool Classic is an Australian sports institution. It’s great that the State Government also recognizes that."
The Melbourne to Warrnmabool Classic takes place October 29.