• Sarah Gigante (L) and Brenton Jones (R) will feature at the Lexus Blackburn Bay Criterium Series. (Con Chronis)Source: Con Chronis
Caleb Ewan will unveil his new Lotto-Soudal team colours as 2014 champion Brenton Jones (Delko Marseille Provence KTM) leads a Lexus All-Stars squad at the Bay Criterium series on New Year's day.
20 Dec 2018 - 8:18 AM  UPDATED 20 Dec 2018 - 9:04 AM

The Bay Crits was first held in 1989 and has long been a launching place for some of Australia's greatest cyclists.

Along with Ewan and Jones, riders confirmed to start the men's event include Luke Durbridge (Mitchelton-Scott), Nathan Haas (Katusha-Alpecin), Jay McCarthy (BORA-hansgrohe) Miles Scotson (Groupama-FDJ), Roger Kluge (Mitchelton-Scott), Koen de Kort (Trek-Segafredo), Zak Dempster (Israel Cycling Academy) and Heinrich Haussler (Bahrain-Merida).

“The Lexus Blackburn Bay Crits is a race I have fond memories of, from watching my mum run the event when I was a kid to winning it in 2014,"Jones said.

"I’m excited to race with the Lexus All-Stars Team, it will be great to race with Durbo [Luke Durbridge] for the first time, he’s got a big engine and heaps of experience. I’ve raced with the other guys at some point in my career, so it will be good to catch up and have some fun.”

SBS will stream the Lexus Blackburn Bay Criterium Series live on the Cycling Central Facebook page and feature daily highlights on the website.

Sarah Gigante, 18, junior road, criterium and time trial national champion, will race with the Lexus of Blackburn Women's All Stars Team alongside 2018 Commonwealth Games Champion Chloe Hosking (Alé Cipollini), reigning Australian Road Champion Shannon Malseed (TIBCO-SVB) and Australia's number one ranked cyclist Amanda Spratt (Mitchelton-Scott).

"To be racing with and against some of my idols is absolutely fantastic, and I can't wait to see how the teams come together," Gigante said.

"I'm looking forward to racing with Chloe Hosking, Amanda Spratt and Shannon Malseed. It has been a huge year, I was very proud of my ATAR (99.95) especially with combining that and competing at the top level. It will be a great way to start 2019."

Also in the women's field is former national road champion Peta Mullins and veteran Italian Valentina Scandolara (TIBCO-SVB).

The Lexus Blackburn Bay Criterium Series will also see the introduction of the "MS MILE". An opportunity for the public to walk with the family or run the Criterium courses at Geelong and Williamstown, with the gold coin donation going to MS.

"The MS Mile is open to anybody, one will be held in Geelong and one will be held in Williamstown," said Rio 2016 Olympic Games gold medal winning para-cyclist Carol Cooke. "It's one lap of the course in Geelong and two laps of the course in Williamstown for a gold coin donation and all funds go to the charity partner MS.

"I think it's wonderful that the Bay Crits have taken on a charity partner. From what I understand a lot of the international riders who don't have a team will be part of an MS Team and be given special jersey's with an MS logo on it so that will boost the profile even more."