While a decision was taken by event organisers and the Warrnambool Citizens Road Race Committee to cancel the Middle Island criterium for 2021, the event is expected to return the program for 2022 and the other races are set to go ahead with strong support.
With the Sunday criterium being dropped from the 2021 program due to lack of entries, race organisers are looking to pour twice as much effort into ensuring that the two Saturday races, the 105th edition of the Powercor Melbourne to Warrnambool and the Royal Bikes Port Campbell to Warrnambool Handicap, are a success to drive future interest in building to a weekend of racing in the future.
‘The 105th Powercor Melbourne to Warrnambool Cycling Classic will highlight the Warrny weekend on Feb 13 with the second edition of the Royal Bikes Port Campbell to Warrnambool Handicap supporting the classic,” said Shane Wilson, head of the Warrnambool Citizens Road Race Committee. “Unfortunately the Sunday criterium will not run this year. It is expected to return to the calendar in 2022.“
The 267-kilometre Powercor Melbourne to Warrnambool is the oldest race in Australia, celebrating the 125th anniversary of the first-ever ‘Warrny’, but the racing action is as fresh as ever, drawing high-quality fields and a big audience from cycling fans across Australia and the world.
“The Warrny speaks for itself, being one of the most sought after titles on the Australian cycling calendar,” said Willson.
The ‘Warrny’ used to be run as a handicap with riders setting off from Melbourne in staggered bunches depending on their ability coming into the race. This part of the race’s history is still celebrated by the running of the Royal Bikes Port Campbell to Warrnambool, a handicap event over the shorter 76 kilometre route.
65-year-old Des Lane was the winner in the inaugural edition of the handicap last year, triumphing in a six-rider sprint from the first group to set off from Port Campbell. The race is already attracted increased interest this year, with 2019 Melbourne to Warrnambool women’s category winner Peta Mullens of UCI Continental team Roxsolt Liv SRAM expected on the startline with Masters world champion Justine Barrow. The picturesque nature of the race and its unique standing as a handicap are helping grow the field and deliver a strong event.
“The Port Campbell to Warrnambool commences among the towering cliffs of the Great Ocean Road and 75 kilometres later finishes on the iconic Raglan Parade straight,’ said Wilson.
The Powercor Melbourne to Warrnambool and the Royal Bikes Port Campbell to Warrnambool will be run on the 13th of February 2021 with the Raglan Parade finish the hub for the racing action within Warrnambool.