Six members of the Sunbury Cycling Club will race in the 2011 Melbourne to Warrnambool Classic on Saturday October 29th. The 262km race is the second oldest one day race in the world behind Liege-Bastogne-Liege and used to be the longest race in the world at 300km. It was first held in 1895 and past winners include Australian Olympic gold medallist Dean Woods and Simon Gerrans, who has won stages in the Tour De France and Giro d'Italia as well as being a dual Herald Sun Tour winner in 2005 and 2006.
John Marcan, Sunbury CC VIP Packaging team captain, is getting ready for his 9th consecutive Melbourne to Warrnambool, while Mitch Allen, Col Bell, Michael Skerritt, Paddy McIntyre and Glynn Matthey are racing their first. Andrew Hutcheson, another SCC member will be racing the event for the 3rd time.
Marcan, who has finished all previous 8 races, entered the first as a dare and just wanted to finish and get a medal. He is hoping to complete this year and next year’s race to have 10 consecutive finishes. “It’s the only pro race I can enter, and race on total road closures. It changes each year. The distance was 300km 3 years ago while the last 3 years its been a teams race. It is getting harder and harder every year.” He admits 2010 was the hardest. “We had a very strong head wind the whole way. It was very cold and we had rain and some hail. On a good day it takes me just over 7 hours to complete the 262km, last year took 9 hours!!” Marcan has appreciated the support of former SCC president and SCC VIP Packaging team coach, Chris Hitchen. "He has managed my feeds for 7 of the 8 years and has also entered and finished the race." And his advice for his team mates, “Stay with the main bunch as long as you can. Keep well fed and hydrated and don't give up.”
Current SCC committee member Paddy McIntyre says John’s dedication is an inspiration. “This is only my second year of club and combine racing, so for me the Melbourne to Warrnambool is the holy grail. To be able to race against the pros will be incredible experience and Johns encouragement has given me the confidence that I can finish and possibly even be in contention for the D grade podium”. McIntyre is also happy to be part of a strong VIP Packaging team and appreciates the support. “VIP Packaging has covered our race entry and offered additional race support. The race is tough enough, the guys in the team really appreciate the assistance.”
Sunbury Cycling Club currently has 45 members with most participating weekly in the Northern Combine winter road racing season and various weekly criterium races over the summer. The club is keen to attract new members not only to race, but to join as recreational members.
MATT LLOYD TO RIDE “WARRNAMBOOL” CLASSIC
Former Australian road champion and internationally-renowned climbing specialist Matthew Lloyd will tackle the Eastern Oak Melbourne to Warrnambool Classic on Saturday, October 29.
In a major coup for the 116-year-old race, Lloyd, 28, will ride with a six-man local team.
In addition, Herald Sun Tour winner Nathan Haas and his barnstorming team-mate Steele Von Hoff will contest the Eastern Oak Melbourne to Warrnambool Classic on Saturday, October 29.