Minister for Sport and Recreation, Hugh Delahunty today joined riders competing in the 2012 Melbourne to Warrnambool Cycling Classic this weekend to encourage cycling enthusiasts to get behind and support those riding along the gruelling course.
Mr Delahunty was joined on the steps of Parliament House by two-time Melbourne to Warrnambool winner Joel Pearson and 2012 competitors Kane Walker and Brenton Jones, of the Genesys Pro Cycling Team.
“Since 1895, Australia’s oldest one-day cycling event has earned a worldwide reputation as the Southern Hemisphere’s longest and toughest bike race; testing the mettle of some of our nation’s finest talents,” Mr Delahunty said.
“This year’s race is no exception with the cream of Australia’s endurance-cycling taking on two-time champion Joel Pearson and a challenging course that takes in some of Victoria’s most spectacular scenery.”
The 262 kilometre Melbourne to Warrnambool Cycling Classic is a one-day event that sees over 230 cyclists make their way from Werribee through South West Victorian towns like Little River, Inverleigh, Camperdown and Terang before finishing in Warrnambool.
Minister for Regional Cities and Member for South West Coast Denis Napthine said major cycling events like the Classic go a long way in promoting regional areas like Victoria’s South West and provide a significant boost to local sport, tourism, and investment for towns and communities along the route.
“They also provide a major launch pad for future champions and a chance for Victorian sports fans to see the best local and international stars showcase their talents in their own backyard,” Dr Napthine said.
“That’s why we’re proud to have invested $200,000 over four years to ensure this event not only thrives but continues to provide opportunities for the next generation of Australia’s road cycling heroes.”
Dr Napthine commended all involved in staging the Classic including sponsors Campolina as well as participating councils.
“I urge everyone to show their support for the riders along the way. In Warrnambool you can enjoy a festival atmosphere which continues on Sunday with the staging of the Shipwreck Coast Classic,” Dr Napthine said.
For more information visit www.melbournetowarrnambool.com.au