It’s shaping to be one of the best editions of the Powercor Melbourne to Warrnambool, with a field of top-tier cyclists assembled for the oldest, longest and toughest road race in Australia.
Recently crowned elite Australian national championships winners Cameron Meyer (Team BikeExchange) and Lucas Plapp (Inform TMX MAKE) will race in the men’s category and criterium champion Annette Edmondson will be one of the favourites in the women’s race.
Those riders are just some of what is a highly-credentialled field, featuring riders who have won track world championship titles, Commonwealth Games gold medals and Paralympic Games gold medals to go with the in-form riders coming off recent success at the Australian national championships.
“I’m overwhelmed at the quality of the field we’ve assembled, especially given two weeks ago we had 30 entries and we weren’t sure if the event would event go ahead,” said event race director Karin Jones. “To turn that around to be one of the best fields ever assembled is incredible.”
The men’s field will see a significant amount of strength in the Powercor Composite team, the team of the major sponsor with a pedigree advantage on much of the field.
Meyer will be joined by Commonwealth Games gold medallists and multiple track world champions Sam Welsford and Leigh Howard, alongside a host of riders signed with overseas teams in Brenton Jones (Canyon-dhb Sungod), Nathan Earle (Team UKYO) and Scott Bowden.
The Powercor team will have its work cut out for it as it comes head-to-head with the cream of the Australian racing scene - 215 male entrants for Melbourne to Warrnambool - with the 267-kilometre race an important one in the pursuit of National Road Series success.
All eyes will be on Inform TMX MAKE after the team had an amazing return at the national championships, winning the elite time trial with Plapp, the Under 23 time trial with Carter Turnbull, nearly winning the elite road race with second-placed Kell O’Brien and completing a sweep of the podium in the Under 23 road race with Tom Benton, Rudy Porter and Turnbull.
Those riders will be joined by Commonwealth Games gold medallist Steele von Hoff, 2018 National Road Series champion Raphael Freienstein and 2020 Melbourne to Warrnambool third-place getter Mark O’Brien for one of the most impressive domestic rosters.
The women’s race has attracted riders of the top calibre, with Edmondson being joined on the startline at Avalon Airport by seven-year professional rider Carlee Taylor (Roxsolt Liv SRAM) and defending champion Matilda Raynolds (Specialized), who is unfortunately coming off a nasty crash at the national championships.
The 12 starters in the women’s field are all top quality, made up from the top domestic teams in Australia.
The 2021 Powercor Melbourne to Warrnambool will be run on February 13, starting from sponsors Avalon Airport in the morning at 7.50am AEDT and finishing on Raglan Parade Warrnambool with an expected mid-afternoon finish. The race will be streamed live on SBS Cycling Central's Facebook page with the audio commentary run on 3YB/Coast FM Warrnambool. The last 100 kilometres of the race of the legendary race will be brought to screens all over the world from 11.30am AEDT.