By Mal Sawford
Robbie McEwen will launch his bid for a seventh series win in the 2007 edition of the Jayco Bay Cycling Classic, which kicks off in Williamstown today, but he'll be up against forces of nature and some stiff competition. A host of up and coming riders be out to try and steal his thunder, but they might be doing so under threat of the real thing, as forecasts call for showers and even thunderstorms – which will no doubt cause havoc on the tight and technical city circuit around Williamstown’s café district.
Fortunately, the weather should improve for the next two days of racing, and McEwen will be ably supported in the Volvo team by European teammate Nick Gates and a trio of Queenslanders including Jason Phillips, one of the form riders from the South Bank and Surfers paradise Gran Prix series last month.
In the women’s series, defending champion Katie Mactier will aim for her second title, but without the luxury of the strong Jayco VIS team she led last year. Instead, Mactier will wear the Portfolio Partners strip and have Kiwi sprint ace Joanne Kiesanowski and junior track star Tess Downing for support as she takes on her former teammates, led by Jenny Macpherson, Emma Rickards and Peta Mullens.