Funding safeguards of Melbourne to Warrnambool, Haas and Lloyd set to line out in race
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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Funding safeguards of Melbourne to Warrnambool, Haas and Lloyd set to line out in race

by VeloNation Press at 5:59 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Strong racing expected in Saturday’s marathon road race

Matthew LloydThe longest single-day race in the Southern Hemisphere has been given a big boost, with the state government of the area pledging to give $200,000 to the Melbourne to Warrnambool Cycling Classic over the next four years.

The funding provides important safeguards for the race, which has been running for 116 years and which is a daunting 262 kilometres in length.

“The Victorian Government's funding boost of $50,000 per annum over four years secures the future of the event,” said Victorian Minister for Sport and Recreation Hugh Delahunty at the funding launch, which was held at the Werribee racecourse. “This will ensure Australia's oldest one-day road cycling event continues to thrive and provide a launching pad for the next generation of road cycling heroes," Mr Delahunty said.

This year’s race will be held on Saturday, with a record lineup of over 200 elite riders set to take part. The lineup will include Nathan Haas, who is on a high after wins in the Jayco Herald Sun Tour and last weekend’s Japan Cup, Australian cross country MTB champion Chris Jongewaard and 2011 Scody Cup winner Steele Von Hoff.

Also confirmed is the 2010 Giro d'Italia stage winner and King of the Mountains champion Matthew Lloyd, who is making his comeback to the sport after several months out of action. He was dropped by his Omega Pharma Lotto team earlier this year, but is seeking to return to the top level.

“I am pleased to have the opportunity to get involved in this race and I’m going to have a good crack at winning it,” the former Australian road race champion said. “Every cycling person I have spoken to worldwide knows about the ‘Warrnambool’. The race has such a big history. I’m looking forward to it. It’s one of the world’s most renowned bike races.”

Lloyd had hoped to fare well in the Jayco Herald Sun Tour, but had to be satisfied with 27th overall. However he knows that the workout that race gave him could set him up for a jump in form, and will hope to show well in the finale.

“I am pretty excited about the Warrnambool. It’s the perfect way to get the ball rolling for the next year,” he said. “It’s hard to gauge how you are going to feel over a distance of 262 kilometres. The last 15 kilometres is going to be special, because of the attrition in races like these.”

There is no news yet about where Lloyd will race next season. He had previously been rumoured to be joining the GreenEdge team but it appears this will not happen in 2012.

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