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Lexus Blackburn Bay Crits 2020: Race 2, Eastern Gardens, Geelong – preview (men)

Race 2 of the 2020 Bay Crits takes place on a circuit around Geelong's Eastern Gardens
Race 2 of the 2020 Bay Crits takes place on a circuit around Geelong's Eastern Gardens (Image credit: Con Chronis)

What was the opening round of the Lexus Blackburn Bay Crits in 2019 has now shifted to become the second race of the three-race series in 2020.

After the short, sharp opening course on Ritchie Boulevard on Friday, Saturday's Eastern Gardens course enjoys a longer, 1.9km circuit, with the long, Hearne Parade straight taking the riders along the edge of Geelong's Stingaree Bay waterfront.

Overall winner of the 2014 Bay Crits series, Brenton Jones, describes the course to Cyclingnews as being more like a Belgian-style kermesse thanks to that longer circuit.

"That opens it up a bit more for some breakaways," said Jones, "so you've got the possibility of sending guys up the road, which makes for challenging racing, and then there's a crosswind from the water that happens every year to deal with, too."

Last year, Katusha's Marco Haller of Austria got the better of Jones' then Lexus of Blackburn teammate Raphael Freienstein and Miles Scotson, riding for the MS All Stars squad.

But with none of the top three in attendance this year, it perhaps opens the door for last year's fourth-placed finisher at Eastern Gardens, reigning Australian road race champion Michael Frieberg (ARA Pro Racing Sunshine Coast) or, indeed, Jones (Novotel-Mitchelton) – the reigning Australian criterium champion.

The 1.9km Eastern Gardens course – race 2 of the 2020 Lexus Blackburn Bay Crits – is described as being more like a kermesse, rather than a traditional criterium course

The 1.9km Eastern Gardens course – race 2 of the 2020 Lexus Blackburn Bay Crits – is described as being more like a kermesse, rather than a traditional criterium course (Image credit: Lexus Blackburn Bay Crits)

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