The 16th Tour of the Murray River starts on Sunday in Yarrawonga, marking the sixth event in the Australian National Road Series. Over 15 stages, and 847.3km the riders will work their way West along Australia’s longest river system until the traditional end in Mildura the following Sunday.
The 2011 field features the return of Jonathon Cantwell (V Australia) who will race in Australia for the first time since taking part in the Tour Down Under in January. Cantwell has enjoyed success in the Tour of the Murray River in the past, winning four stages en-route to the overall win in 2009. He will join a V Australia team that showed in Geelong with Scott Law and Ben Kersten that the ‘orange-train’ of Genesys Wealth Advisers can be beaten.
That said, Genesys have to be considered favourites in the battle between the two teams. Though without Series leader Nathan ‘Haassasin’ Haas, the team still has plenty of options. Last year’s Tour of the Murray River winner Joel Pearson will team up with Steele Von Hoff, Pat Shaw, Anthony Giacoppo and Nic Sanderson – all of whom are capable of winning races in their own right.
Von Hoff particularly has been almost unbeatable in 2011. The 23-year-old has taken 10 stage victories in NRS races, including two in Geelong where V Australia and the Jayco-AIS squads fielded strong teams.
The battle between Cantwell and Von Hoff is a mouth watering proposition but also look for riders like Peter Herzig (Budget Forlifts), Darren Lapthorne (Drapac), Luke Davison (Swan Hill), and Ed Bissaker (Jayco-AIS) to feature in the eight-day event.