70th Melbourne Cup on Wheels

This Saturday night is the staging of the opening handicap classic of the season, the 70th Melbourne Cup on Wheels, and numerous finals of the 2007 Oceania Championships which is also being held in Melbourne this weekend. Riders from all across Australian and New Zealand are slated to challenge the local Victorian boys, with many Oceania riders also choosing to compete in the prestigious handicap, promoted by Cyclists International.

2005 Champion Leigh Howard (Geelong CC), fresh off his win in the Doherty Tour last weekend, is back to defend his title, and is joined on scratch with Stephen Rossendell (TAS) in Heat 5. This heat also features four riders who just competed at the Sydney World Cup, Joel Leonard (Footscray CC), Shane Perkins (Carnegie Caulfield CC), Cameron Meyer (WA) and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Sean Finning (Castlemaine CC).

Heat 4 will also prove a tight contest with Kial Stewart (ACT), Daniel Thorsen (Shepparton CC), Travis Meyer (WA), Wade Cosgrove (WA) and Gary Mueller (Brunswick CC). In all five heats will be held with the top four from each progressing to the Wheelrace final.

The night also includes the 2007 Oceania Championships for the women's sprint and individual pursuit, men's keirin, plus the junior men and junior women scratch races. Qualifying for these events took place at the earlier Oceania sessions.

Headlining the Women's Sprint event is Kerrie Meares (QLD), 2002 Commonwealth Games Sprint gold medallist, while 2005 World Champion and 2006 Commonwealth Games champion Katie Mactier (Carnegie Caulfield) looks to be the clear favourite in the Oceania women's individual pursuit.

As usual, the men's keirin will be fast and furious with former junior world champions Mark French (Carnegie Caulfield CC) and Jason Niblett (Horsham CC), former Australian keirin champion Joel Leonard (Footscray CC) and 2004 world junior keirin champion Shane Perkins (Carnegie Caulfield CC) all vying for a spot in the final.

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