The 2020 National Road Series kicks off on the Saturday with the longest bike race in Australia, the Melbourne to Warrnambool Cycling Classic. The unchanged 267km journey starts from Avalon Airport before making its way towards the coast and the famous Great Ocean Road before finishing on the slight uphill drag into Warrnambool.
There are a number of variables which impact the race with the biggest being weather. A slight headwind will favour the sprinters whereas strong crosswinds will throw the race into panic. The current temperatures forecasted favour the bunch with a cool top of 19 set to welcome the riders.
The real interest will be if the wind is strong enough to cause chaos along the Great Ocean Road. 35kmh crosswinds are expected which will mean positioning is key throughout this section.
The team want to kick off the 2020 series on the right foot and come with an extremely strong group of seven riders who excel as the conditions get worse.
No one in the team loves the “Warrny” more than Iven Bennett. Dropping 7 hours days in Adelaide is a favourite hobby of Iven and this only intensifies before the spring classic. He’ll be looking to make a mark and be hoping for grim conditions. If the heavens open and the wind howls, look to see him try and sneak away in a move along the coast.
A reduced bunch kick is still the most probable outcome and we come prepared with two sprinters. David Randall comes into the race with good form shown by his runners-up result at the last round of the National Criterium Series at the Trek Night Riders in Adelaide during the Tour Down Under week. Tristan Saunders will work with Randall to try and tie up a podium result if the sprint does happen. The winner of the 2019 Cycling South Australia Super Series, Saunders will hope his consistent form can land him a solid overall position for the 2020 NRS.
Matt Hutchinson will look to use his massive engine to sneak into an early breakaway or late move. The “predator” should excel at the longer type of racing and is itching to get stuck into the National Road Series.
Supporting roles will be filled by road captain Jason Thomason, as well as Curtis Dowdell and Will Golding. Dowdell is likely to be active early and will be key in positioning the team throughout the harder sections of the day. Golding is making his NRS debut and will look to learn from the more experienced riders as well as help out the leaders.
For the first time on the Sunday, there will be an exciting new criterium course raced around the Warrnambool coastline. All the boys will be lining up for that where there are sure to be some tired legs after Saturdays trek!
2020 marks the team’s fifth year of National Road Series racing and perhaps our most exciting, with the strongest roster we’ve ever had. We are hoping to kick it off in the best possible fashion. Keep up to date with all our socials as we bring you the news from the weekend as well at the National Road Series official channels.
Once again this would not be possible without our loyal sponsors and supporters! They keep the team and series ticking and we hope we can repay them through a good result.