For the fourth edition of the women's Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, Mitchelton-Scott once again starts as the team to beat. The Australian squad comes into the race with a handful of winning options including defending champion Annemiek Van Vleuten.
Van Vleuten will be joined by Santos Women's Tour champion Amanda Spratt, who won the race in 2016, as the in-form riders for the team while a fresh Gracie Elvin is a joker in the pack. Van Vleuten and Spratt each took solo wins to win the past events and could well repeat.
The introduction of the Challambra Crescent climb, however, will add a new dynamic to the race and ensure a tough finale for the peloton. Aside from its inclusion, the parcours remains largely unchanged at 113km with the race heading out onto the Great Ocean Road following the start in Geelong. The finish remains on the waterfront in Geelong.
For the women's start list, click here.
Riders to watch
Elvin, Spratt, and Van Vlueten start as favourites for the win after the manner in which the Mitchelton-Scott team won the Santos Women's Tour. As the premier Australian team, any race in home soil is an important goal and this race is no exception.
The Australian national team could well be a WorldTour squad and is the only other team that will line out with a former winner in Rachel Neylan. The Movistar rider was active in the Santos Women's Tour and along with Katrin Garfoot will be a formidable rider considering the addition of Challambra Crescent. Neylan and Garfoot pack a one-two punch but aren't the only cards the national team can play. Lauren Kitchen rode an impression nationals and adds another option to team tactics, as do Tiff Cromwell and Peta Mullens.
Wiggle High5 has enjoyed sprint success this summer with Annette Edmondson but with the hillier finale to the race the team may find the finale works against them. Audrey Cordon could well spring a surprise for the team, however.
Lauren Stephens (Cylance), Australian national champion Shannon Malseed (Tibco), Grace Brown (Holden Gusto Racing) all made a mark on the Santos Women's Tour and they are well poised to carry their form into a course that suits their respective characteristics. The challenge for the peloton is to ride against Mitchelton-Scott and end its shot at a race hat-trick.
Cyclingnews will have news, a report, results and photo gallery from the race. With the race being broadcast live, check your local TV guides for full details.
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