Melbourne to Warrnambool Cycling Classic


Aug 12, 2001
Melbourne to Warrnambool Cycling Classic
The Melbourne to Warrnambool Cycling Classic was for many years, the longest one day road race on the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) calendar, being 299.1 kilometres (185.9 mi) in 2005. The race started in 1895 and is Australia's oldest one day race and the world's second oldest one day race, after the Liège–Bastogne–Liège Classic. The route starts in Melbourne and traditionally followed the Princes Highway to Warrnambool on Victoria's western coast. The race was a handicap event from 1895 to 1995, with riders leaving Melbourne at different intervals. From 1996 the race has been conducted as a Scratch Race with a mass start with up to 250 entrants, categorized into A, B, C, and D grades over a distance of 267 km. In 2004 it was changed to 299.1 km. In the towns on route there are now sprint points to be earned for a sprint champion competition. With six climbs during the day, a King of the Mountains championship is also at stake. 2009 winner Joel Pearson hopes to become the first rider to win consecutive Melbourne to Warrnambool titles on Saturday. Past Melbourne to Warrnambool Cycling Classic Winners
coming soon.

Interesting Warrny Facts
  • The Melbourne to Warrnambool Cycling Classic was first held in 1895.
  • It is the world’s second-oldest bike race.
  • The classic is also the Southern Hemisphere’s longest one-day bike race, at 262kms.
  • The course will take in 30 towns and regions along the way, with intermediate sprints and hill climbs at each.
  • The event will be contested by about 200 top-flight cyclists from Australia and overseas.
  • The classic’s honor list reads like a Who’s Who of Australian cycling, with names like Sir Hubert Opperman, Russell Mockridge, Billy Guyatt, Dean Woods and Simon Gerrans among previous prizewinners.
  • The race was a handicap event for its first 100 years.
  • It became a massed start race in 1996, to broaden its overseas appeal and gain inclusion on the International Cycling Union’s calendar.
  • The race was first held in 1895. 50 riders entered, 24 started, and only 7 finished.
  • The late Sir Hubert Opperman recorded the fastest time on 3 occasions - in 1924, '26 and '29.
  • Only five overseas riders have won the event - the New Zealanders J Arnst (1903) and P Hill (1922), Switzerland's Daniel Schnider in 1997, Bart Heirewegh, of Belgium, in '98, and Sweden’s Jonas Ljungblad in 2005.
  • The race has been held 92 times. Extensive recesses were taken during the war years.
  • It has been run in the reverse direction, from Warrnambool to Melbourne, 32 times.
  • Only two Warrnambool riders, Olympian Michael Lynch (1986) and Jamie Drew (1999 & 2002) have won the Classic.
  • 1909 - Coburg rider Snowy Munro, 21, embarrassed the Victorian Railways Commissioners by clocking 7 hours, 12 minutes, 51 seconds - 5 minutes faster than the best train time from Warrnambool to Melbourne.
  • The "Warrnambool" was held as a massed start event for the first time in 1996. The surprise winner was Bendigo's Chris White in 6 hours, 44mins, 16secs. Germany's Ralf Grabsch won the newly-introduced sprint championship.
  • 1997 -The closest finish in the race's history. Switzerland's Daniel Schnider defeated Dennis Rasmussen, of Denmark, by a centimetre - after 265kms.
  • 1999 - The course was extended by 10kms, and a king of the mountains classification was introduced.
  • 2004 - The “Warrnambool,” becomes the world’s second oldest bike race (behind Liege-Bastogne-Liege).
  • 2008 - The event is named the grand finale race in the National Teams Series by the Australian Cycling Federation.
  • 2009 - The course reduced to 262kms, with the start at Werribee and the Lakes and Craters region around Camperdown incorporated into the event to make it a genuine European-style classic, and host the finish of the Victorian 200km championship.
Melbourne to Warrnambool Cycling Classic News

Pearson aims for Classic cycling history National-level road cycling is tough enough for the competitors who have two fully-functioning legs. So Joel Pearson's Melbourne to Warrnambool Classic victory this time last year with a partially-blocked major artery in his left leg is truly outstanding achievement. The 27-year-old, who has had the problem since his late teens, has endured several operations which failed to fix the problem. Link: Wind, rain leave riders in slow lane ORGANISERS say today's Melbourne to Warrnambool cycling classic will be one of the toughest in years. With forecasts of rain and head winds of up to 55km/h, race director John Craven wondered aloud yesterday whether the 210 riders setting off from Werribee racecourse will threaten race record slow times by the time they reach Warrnambool. The slowest winning time was recorded in the first Melbourne to Warrnambool in 1910 - a dawdling 10 hours by C. A. Piercey. Link: Pedals fly again in Wyndham THE stars of Australian cycling will be in Wyndham again this weekend. The Melbourne to Warrnambool Cycling Classic, the world’s second oldest bike race, starts from Werribee this Saturday. It is the second major cycling event in Wyndham within weeks. Last Sunday, cycling’s world championships’ elite men’s road race, second only to the Tour de France, came through the city enroute from Melbourne to Geelong. Link: Triathlon legend Greg Stewart hits the road to Warrnambool GREG Stewart was a triathlon trailblazer in the 1980s, finishing third in the Hawaiian Ironman in 1987. Now he's set his sights on one of the world's most gruelling bike races, today's 262km Melbourne to Warrnambool, in which he'll race with the Geelong Cycling Club, as well as with his 20-year-old son Cameron. Stewart, 53, had his initiation into the event last year, and it wasn't pleasant. Link:
Hard road ahead for Classic field WARRNAMBOOL’S Luke Aggett has taken a study break to a new extreme. The Deakin University business student is in the middle of exams but he will escape the books for a test of a different kind today. Aggett is one of just seven south-west riders contesting the TORQ Melbourne to Warrnambool Cycling Classic. The 23-year-old sat an exam on Thursday night and has another two to come. Amid a cloud of lecture notes and text books, Aggett has found the time to fit in an average 450 kilometres on the bike each week. He said “balance” was the key to his busy preparation. “It’s been a massive week,” he said. Aggett will gear up for his fourth classic this morning. He will join a field of 205 cyclists in Werribee, all striving to reach Warrnambool’s finish line first. Link:

Melbourne to Warrnambool challenge for Joel Pearson VICTORIAN Joel Pearson hopes to become the first cyclist to win consecutive Melbourne to Warrnambool titles on Saturday. The 27-year-old defending champion yesterday launched the 2010 instalment that has attracted a record 214 entries. Pearson won the 2009 event from a small bunch sprint after joining what was the winning breakaway early in the race. Link: Pearson prepared for back-to-back Warrnambool wins Genesys Wealth Advisers’ Joel Pearson is aiming for a unique piece of Australian cycling history by becoming the first back-to-back winner at this weekend’s Melbourne to Warrnambool. While Pearson admitted good fortune helped him secure last year’s title, this time around the rider has been training specifically for the world’s second oldest race. Link:
$25,000 police bill for Classic road race THE world's second-oldest bike race, the TORQ Melbourne to Warrnambool Cycling Classic, has been hit with a record $25,000 bill for police recources, threatening the event's future. Organisers were reeling yesterday after receiving the bill for Saturday's race, which starts in Werribee and finishes on Raglan Parade in Warrnambool. The fee, equivalent to 25 per cent of the race's entire budget, came two days after Liberal leader Ted Baillieau and South West Coast MP Denis Napthine pledged $50,000 over four years to organisers to ensure the Classic's future should they win power at next month's state election. Link: Bumper field for big bike race SATURDAY'S field in the Melbourne to Warrnambool Cycling Classic will be one of the biggest in years, race director John Craven said. A total of 207 riders from across Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Singapore will front the start in Werribee on Saturday morning before tackling the 262km course that finishes on Warrnambool's Raglan Parade. Link: Classic rides high on world titles hype REIGNING Melbourne to Warrnambool Cycling Classic champion Joel Pearson will have to escape one of the strongest fields in recent history if he wants to defend his crown later this month. Race director John Craven said Pearson would face resistance from quality riders, including two fresh from the World Road Cycling Championships in Geelong. The annual spring event has so far attracted more than 100 entries, with registrations open for three more days. Craven said Australian representatives Ben King and Malcolm Rudolph had contested the world championship’s under-23 road race last week. Link:
Like father, like son as Patrick Shaw chases Melbourne to Warrnambool cycling classic IN-FORM rider Patrick Shaw looms as the man to catch in a star-studded field for Saturday's Torq Melbourne to Warrnambool Classic. Shaw enters the race as Australia's best-performed cyclist in this year's domestic road season and comes from rich cycling pedigree, with his father, Dennis, a 1978 race winner. Should the Ballarat-based rider clinch victory, it will be the first time in the race's famous history a father and son will appear on the winners honour board. Link:
Albury cyclist Rhys Pollock fulfilled an 11-year dream with a courageous victory in the Torq Melbourne to Warrnambool Classic today. Pollock, 30, defeated Horsham’s Mark O’Brien and young Tasmanian Tom Robinson in brutally-tough conditions which yielded the relatively slow time of 7 hours, 49 mins 40 sec for the 262km slog. The 212-rider field was battered by head and cross winds of up to 60km an hour and occasional driving rain. The three major place-getters cleared away from the main peloton at Lake Bullen Merri, Camperdown, after O’Brien won the Wyndham City Victorian 200km championship, held in conjunction with the classic. The conditions took a huge toll on the riders with some 50 punctures recorded and the field spread out over 60kms. Only 93 competitors completed the course. Pollock first rode the classic in 1999 and was so struck by its status in Australasian cycling that he admitted he had dreamt of winning it ever since. As he spurted clear of the unlucky O’Brien, who punctured at the 250km mark and then chased and regained the leaders, Pollock raised his arms in triumph and unleashed a jubilant scream upon crossing the finish line in Warrnambool’s Raglan Parade. “For me, this is the ultimate dream,” Pollock said as he was mobbed by his Drapac team-mates immediately after the victory. “This is the best one-day race in Australia and to win it is beyond my wildest dreams but it has been a goal for the past 11-years.” The rangy Pollock mixes professional cycling with study for a degree in building design at the Albury College of TAFE. He has enjoyed an excellent 2010 road season, wearing the leader’s jerseys for extended periods in the five-day GMHBA Tour of Geelong in August and also in the six-day Caterpillar Undergrounding Mining Tour of Tasmania last month. He won the snow and hail-pummelled Strahan to Rosebery stage of the Tassie tour. “The Warrnambool” was a triumph for Pollock’s five-man Drapac team. Bendigo’s David Pell won the City Memorial Bowls Club king of the mountains championship and team-mate Thomas Palmer, of Canberra, took the SEW Eurodrive sprint title. The classic, first held in 1895, started at Werribee Racecourse and passed through 28 towns and locations before ending at Warrnambool. 2010 Results
1 Rhys Pollock NSW 7:49:40 2 Mark O’Brien VIC 7:49:43 3 Thomas Robinson TAS 7:49:57 4 Joseph Lewis NSW 7:53:15 5 Brian McLeod QLD 7:53:25 6 David Pell VIC 7:53:26 7 Alexander Malone NSW 7:53:26 8 Will Tehan VIC 7:53:29 9 Steele Von Hoff VIC 7:53:36 10 Nicholas Mitchell VIC 7:53:36