The organisers of the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race reported on Friday that the Australian event will continue to receive Victorian State Government funding until at least 2022.
The announcement means that the men's UCI WorldTour and 1.1-ranked one-day races can continue to attract some of the world's best bike riders to Geelong, 75 kilometres south-west of Melbourne on Port Phillip Bay, each January.
The event saw the light of day in 2015 as a farewell race to the retiring Cadel Evans, who was the first Australian to win the Tour de France, in 2011.
"We are delighted that the Victorian Government continues to support the race, and shares our vision to grow the event into the world's best modern one-day Classic," Evans said in response to the continued funding. "We look forward to working together to take the event from strength to strength.
"The Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race is an event that allows fans the opportunity to watch the world's best male and female cyclists compete on one of the world's best courses," he added.
The men's race has so far seen a different nationality win in each of the four editions, with Belgium's Gianni Meersman winning the inaugural event, followed in 2016 by Britain's Peter Kennaugh – who recently revealed that he was considering concentrating more on one-day races next season – and Germany's Nikias Arndt in 2017.
This year saw the first Australian winner in the men's race in Bora-Hansgrohe's Jay McCarthy, while the women's race has seen wins by Australians Rachel Neylan, Amanda Spratt and, earlier this year, Chloe Hosking (Ale Cipollini), while 2018 time trial world champion Annemiek van Vleuten, of the Netherlands, was victorious in 2017.
The race starts and finishes in Geelong, and takes riders on a route along the Great Ocean Road that includes Evans' hometown of Barwon Heads and the famous surfing destination of Bells Beach.
The Great Ocean Road Race 'weekend', which in 2019 runs from January 24-27, also includes an elite women's and men's criterium, held on Melbourne's Formula 1 street circuit around Albert Park, on the Thursday, and family and sportive rides on the Friday and Saturday, with the headline UCI 1.1-ranked women's race also taking place on Saturday, and the men's WorldTour race on Sunday.
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