Might the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race go WorldTour in the next few years? It depends who you ask.
By
AAP

7 Apr 2015 - 5:20 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:35 PM

Sunday's inaugural edition of the race, named after Evans, was a spectacular cycling success. It attracted big crowds despite the wind and rain, with the conditions and the tough course ensuring an unpredictable result.

Belgian Gianni Meersman won the sprint finish ahead of Clarke, while Evans was fifth.
Evans was one of the key people behind the creation of the race and he is adamant that it should aim for WorldTour status.

Adelaide's Tour Down Under is the only bike race in Australia to currently have that top-level status, but it's Evans desire for that to change. "Our goal for the race is to enter the WorldTour calendar," Evans said.

But Clarke, who provided key support for Evans in his 2009 world road title win, is not so sure. The race featured several top Australian domestic teams and if it was granted WorldTour status, their entry would be restricted.

"That's a tough one ... you always want a race to get bigger, but then you'd lose that support of the local scene," Clarke said. "This year was a great start, getting nearly 50 per cent (WorldTour) teams and some young, NRS teams.

"They would have thrived in the experience of racing against the big guys today."
But regardless of what path the race takes, Clarke joined widespread praise for the first edition.

It also featured a women's race on Saturday, won by Rachel Neylan, that produced a similar high standard of racing.

"What a great race - a credit to him and all his organisation ... to get this race off the ground and create a legacy for Cadel," Clarke added.

"He deserves it, what a champion. We saw the success of the race today, even with inclement weather, how many people turned out.

"It's a spectacular course, look at the race that unfolded in the end - no control and attacking left, right and centre. What better race to have live on TV, when you don't know what's going to happen."