There will be a slight but significant change to the annual Jayco Bay Cycling Classic, slated for January 1 in the new year with the infamous "cheese grater" corner nullified by a new Portarlington circuit which is traditionally one of the toughest in the four-race criterium series. The 23rd edition of the Classic will also mark the debut appearance for the GreenEdge outfit.
The 2012 Classic, which is often referred to as the fastest of its kind in the world, begins with the traditional hot dog circuit around Ritchie Boulevard at Geelong's Eastern Beach and continues the following day with the tough two kilometre burn through the botanic gardens.
The Portarlington circuit has caused many riders to come to grief over the years with the road surface on the flat out final corner being memorably likened to a "cheese grater" by Olympic gold medallist Scott McGrory when he was managing the A and I Helicopters team in 2008 and one of his riders, Darren Lapthorne, crashed heavily. This season, a crash involving several members of the peloton in the women's event resulted in Belinda Goss suffering a broken collarbone.
"I had to really look at what we were going to do," Jayco Bay Cycling Classic director John Trevorrow told Cyclingnews. "I don't like it [the new circuit] as much as a visual because it's a bit bigger and you don't see it all.
The revised Portarlington circuit is slightly longer at 1.3 kilometres with the start finish area reversed from previous years.
"It's still going to be a great finale because it's going to be a very tight corner, one you have to brake for so they get around that and there's a little dog leg up to the finish so it will be an exciting finish," Trevorrow explained. "It's still a tough circuit but it will still be a case of only the strongest survive."
The series will then continue to Williamstown for the fourth and final stage.
Hot field - again
The 'Bay Crits' mark the start of the start of the Australian summer of cycling and it seems that each year brings the promise of a best-ever field lining up in both the men's and women's fields. 2012 will be no exception, according to Trevorrow.
The series should mark the debut appearance for the GreenEdge project which will learn next month if the outfit will become Australia's first awarded a UCI ProTour licence. Cyclingnews understands that the squad will race as two separate teams for the four criteriums. However, the GreenEdge kit is unlikely to be the same as what will be worn throughout the season, with that due to be officially unveiled on the eve of the Tour Down Under mid-January.
"The only one who's not confirmed is Mark Renshaw," he said. "I think it will be the best field ever."
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As a sports journalist and producer since 1997, Jane has covered Olympic and Commonwealth Games, rugby league, motorsport, cricket, surfing, triathlon, rugby union, and golf for print, radio, television and online. However her enduring passion has been cycling.
Jane is a former Australian Editor of Cyclingnews from 2011 to 2013 and continues to freelance within the cycling industry.