ONE OF THE GREATS
The great cycling towns of Australia tend not to be rolling and green, like central France, or highlighted with epic cols, or glistening coastlines, like much of the rest of Europe. They are more often rural, rugged, and harsh. Wind, wild weather, and unsealed roads are often the defining features of races, and many are a battle for position, and a war of attrition, rather than determined by a postcard mountain top finish, or a bunch sprint along a sparkling coastal road. Warrnambool, on the South West Coast of Victoria, is among the most famous and historic cycling towns in Australia. It plays host each year to the Tour of the South West, as well as the race named for it, the Melbourne to Warrnambool (simply ‘the Warny’) – the second oldest one-day race in the world and, for a while, the longest one-day race in the world.
The Tour of the South West is a three stage race over just two days. This was the first big test for Black Sheep | Stinner Racing and the Men of Steel. An ITT and a road stage on Day 1, and a criterium around the infamous cemetery course on Day 2. Black Sheep I Stinner has an undermanned team this weekend, Dan sidelined with a broken collarbone (what a cliché) and Adam a last minute DNS courtesy of work commitments. The variety of disciplines mean there’s something in the tour for every type of rider. But it’s the stage 2 road race that almost always defines the tour and dictates those who will feature in the final results and those who won’t.