Cycling wheels in motion

Mount Gambier and surrounds will welcome some of the best riders in Australia for the region’s biggest weekend of cycling featuring the annual 100 Mile Classic and State Kermesse Championships.

First held in 1933, the 100 Mile Classic is the main event and is one of the longest running races that is still handicapped in the country.

The Lush Desserts/She’s Apples 100 Mile Men’s Classic race to be held this Saturday attracts the finest riders in Australia including members of the Australian Olympic teams.

Last year the race was dominated by Olympian Kelland O’Brien, who cruised to victory alongside Australian teammate Luke Plapp in a formation finish after they overcame challenges presented by the conditions and their rivals.

These big names may not be coming back to defend their crown in the 85th edition, but the peloton will remain at a very high standard.

With over $14,000 in prizes to be shared amongst the riders over the weekend, this race attracts a high-quality field.

The Pristine Skin and Laser Clinic 111km Women’s Classic is a newer addition to the calendar, but has also quickly developed a reputation around the racing world after just three races.

The women’s classic is held as a race within a race, with the females racing in their own handicapped groups for their own 111km race.

Another Australian team member Alexandra Manly edged out fellow scratch group rider Roseman-Gannon after 2.52:07 of riding in last year’s event.

As a handicapped race, the entrants will be grouped and leave at different times with the hope they will all arrive together at the finish line.

The first riders will leave from White Avenue, near Millard Steet, at 10am, with the fastest group leaving approximately 60 minutes later.

From there the riders proceed along White Avenue and Benara Road, turning on to the Kongorong-Tantanoola Road to Millicent.

At Millicent the riders turn at Short Street and return along Millicent Road to Glencoe via Mile Hill Road.

On leaving Glencoe, riders proceed along the Kangaroo Flat Road to Millicent Road then along Jubilee Highway West to Tollner Road, White Avenue and Grant Avenue.

Riders continue down Bay Road to Port MacDonnell and then return to Mount Gambier, where the men will finish at Bay Road near the police station at approximately 2.30pm.

The women’s race will get under way from the same starting line, again with the riders handicapped according to their projected speed.

The ladies will follow the same course as the men out to Millicent and back until they arrive at the corner of Bay Road and Grant Avenue where they will turn left.

The finish will be on Bay Road near the police station at approximately 2.15pm, with crowds more than welcome to cheer on the riders.

Some good spectator points will be as the groups come through Millicent, at the top of Range Hill, heading up Grant Avenue or as the groups start coming together near The Bellum Hotel.

Of course the thrilling downhill finish around the Blue Lake and down Bay Road will see the riders reaching top speeds in the sprint to the finish.

The junior riders will also join in the cycling action with the running of the ASW Lawyers Junior Classic.

The Under 11/13 riders will race a 10km course along Tollner and Cafpirco roads, while the Under 15/17 riders will race a loop around Tollner, Cafpirco, McKay and Mount Percy roads before the long haul back in a 32km race.

These races will start on Tollner Road after the last group in the 100 Mile Classic has left the start line.

The action continues on Sunday morning when John Watson Drive is closed as the rider’s tackle laps around the Blue Lake for the MGA Insurance South Australian Kermesse Championships.

Junior racers will tackle three to five laps of the 3.6km Blue Lake circuit from 8am, while the senior races will start from 9am, culminating in the men’s (75 minutes plus two laps) and women’s (50 minutes plus two laps) open championships.

The start/finish line will be on John Watson Drive between Crouch Street South and Sunnyside Drive.

Last year O’Brien did the double claiming both the men’s 100 Mile Classic and Kermesse wins, while former world champion and Tokyo-bound athlete Annette Edmondson won the women’s dash around the lake.

Riders to watch on both days include Conor Leahy, Graeme Frislie, Josh Duffy, James Moriarty and Blake Agnoletto.

All riders are members of the Podium Potential Academy, with the first four coming off a successful track meet in Canada where they won a gold medal in the team pursuit, catching the Italian team.

Leahy also recently broke Jack Bobridge’s individual pursuit record at the national titles held in Brisbane.

In the Women’s Classic, Chelsea Holmes and Nicole Mitsigeorgis have both been riding strongly and will be the riders to beat.

The Mount Gambier Cycling Club also has a few riders who will be tackling the Lush Desserts/She’s Apples 100 Mile Classic, including former winner Matthew Opperman plus Rob Mann, Malcolm Tirabassi, Gerard Coote, Adam Kauer, Craig Andrae and Nick Kidman along with Hamilton rider Dean Menzel who is an affiliate member of the club.

Harry Opperman and Sarah Dally will carry the local hopes in Sunday’s senior kermesses.

There will also be a number of local junior riders participating over the weekend, including Niel van Niekerk, Patrick Langsmith and Jami Buckley in the Under 17 event.

Elmer Buckland will ride in the Under 15’s race, as well as Molly Opperman and Eddie Buckland in the Under 13’s.

They will be joined by other junior riders from around South Australia and Victoria.

Mount Gambier Cycling Club is proud to host this event, with thanks to SA Police and the Mount Gambier City Council and the many sponsors.

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