The organisers of the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race have confirmed 13 WorldTour teams for the 2017 edition of the race and revealed an Australia Day criterium in Albert Park will be added to the schedule. As one of the 11 new WorldTour events in 2017, the race is obliged to invite all 18 WorldTour team but appearance is not mandatory. However, a minimum of 10 WorldTour teams must participate in the new WorldTour races.
Australian WorldTour team Orica-Scott and Team Sky have already been confirmed for the race with Esteban Chaves and Chris Froome both taking part in the race. The other 11 WorldTour teams confirmed for the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race includes AG2R La Mondiale, BMC Racing, Bora Hansgrohe, Cannondale-Drapac, Team Dimension Data, Quick-Step Floors, Katusha-Alpecin, LottoNL Jumbo, Lotto Soudal, Team Sunweb and Trek-Segafredo.
The WorldTour teams will be joined by the Pro-Continental outfits Aqua Blue Sport, Gazprom-Rusvelo, Team Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij, United Healthcare, with the Jayco Australian National Team rounding out the start list. Lucas Hamilton, Jai Hindley and Michael Storer are confirmed starters for the Jayco Australian National Team.
The first edition of the race was won by Gianni Meersman (Etixx-QuickStep) with Peter Kennaugh taking the win in 2016 for Team Sky via a late attack.
Towards Zero RACE MELBOURNE criterium
The new criterium race will take place on Melbourne's F1 GP circuit in Albert Park with the elite women first off the grid at 9:30am. The women's race is 63.6km in length with the rider to complete 12 laps of the 5.3km circuit. The elite men's race will start at 12:30pm and coves the longer distance of 22 laps and 116.6km in total. The men's race will feature the same teams as the WorldTour race.
"Victoria is the cycling capital of Australia. We're not just the leader for the biggest and best events, we have the circuits and tracks other states can only dream of," Parliamentary Secretary Danielle Green said. "Race Melbourne gives Melburnians a chance to experience for themselves the best of everything this great major event offers."
Peta Mullens is one of the riders confirmed for the women's race with her new Hagens Berman Supermint team and explained what the new event will do for cycling in Victoria.
"The Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race is already a fantastic event. Being from Bendigo, Towards Zero RACE MELBOURNE gives me another chance to race on home soil and showcase my home state to my overseas teammates," Mullens said.
The third edition of the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race takes place Sunday, January 29 with a women's UCI 1.2 race taking place once again on Saturday. The new criterium in Albert Park takes place on the Thursday with team presentations taking up the Friday. A 'People's Ride' grand fondo event also takes place on the Saturday morning with the option to ride either a 11km or 65km version of the course and ride alongside Cadel Evans.
2017 Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race teams
AG2R La Mondiale
Team Dimension Data
Team Katusha Alpecin
Team Lotto NL Jumbo
Aqua Blue Sport
Team Roompot – Nederlandse Loterij
Jayco Australian National Team