The Australian racing season gets under way today with the Tattersall's Tour of Gippsland, the first in a series of three five-day races that comprise the 2005 Tattersall's Cup series.
In previous years the Tattersall's Cup has been a series of one-day races in regional Victoria and Tasmania, but for 2005 organisers have freshened up the format which will now include the Jayco Tour of Tasmania, August 17-21, and the Tour of the Murray River, August 31-September 4. A total of $90,000 in prize money is up for grabs, including $10,000 for the overall leading placegetters in the Tattersall's Cup
The Tour of Gippsland will take in four municipalities - Latrobe, Wellington, South Gippsland and Baw Baw - and will cover 534km over nine stages. It starts with a 45km criterium in Moe on Wednesday, August 3, and will finish with a 57km street race in Traralgon on Sunday, August 7.
Top Australian riders Robert McLachlan, a Barcelona Olympian, and 2004 Herald Sun Tour runner-up David McKenzie say they are looking forward to the Tour of Gippsland. "It is going to be great. I can't wait," said McLachlan. "I am excited by the Tour of Gippsland because the scenery is stunning and the prize money is excellent."
David McKenzie, a stage winner in the 2000 Giro d'Italia, agreed. "The Tour of Gippsland has all the makings of a magnificent event," he said. "But it won't be easy."