Battle Lines Drawn For 99th Melbourne to Warrnambool

2013 Melbourne to Warrnambool (6) Almost 200 cyclists will take part in the 99th edition of the Melbourne to Warrnambool this Saturday, as the Subaru National Road Series begins to draw to a close. 197 riders will traverse a gruelling 273 kilometres beginning in Werribee, passing the You Yangs Regional Park, and through the townships of Bannockburn, Teesdale, Cressy, Lismore, Camperdown, Cobden and Terang before concluding in Warrnambool. The event, Australia?s oldest and longest one day cycling classic, is the penultimate race on the men?s national calendar and with the series crown hanging in the balance, all eyes will be on three riders who have a mathematical chance at clinching individual honours. New Zealand?s Joe Cooper (Avanti Racing) currently leads the series after winning the Tour de Perth and the Battle on the Border earlier in the year before a nine-week forced break due to injury. Nipping at his heels is Adelaide?s Tim Roe (Budget Forklifts) who is just three points behind Cooper after a consistent season which has seen him claim the Tour of Gippsland and make the overall podium three times. However, Cooper?s teammate and overall Tour of the Great South Coast winner Brenton Jones could be staging a late charge. Jones is 12 points in arrears of Cooper, and would need to win the two remaining rounds of the series ? The Melbourne to Warrnambool and the McDonalds Grafton to Inverell ? with Cooper and Roe not featuring on the podium, for him to take out the series. A feat which has never been achieved before. Also set to make his mark is defending champion Sam Horgan (Budget Forklifts) who will attempt to claim victory in consecutive races for the first time in the race?s 118-year history. Roe and Horgan will line up alongside teammates Jesse Kerrison, Tommy Nankervis, Sam Witmitz and New Zealander?s Michael Vink and Daniel Barry. Australia?s only Professional Continental Team, Drapac Pro Cycling will be hoping to notch up their fourth title in the Classic, with former winners including Floris Goesinnen (2012), Rhys Pollock (2010), and Robert McLachlan (2006). The race has extra meaning for Drapac Directeur Sportif Agostino Giramondo, who?s father Mario won the race twice in 1970 and 1975. The 2014 team will feature 2013 runner-up Jack Anderson, Jonathan Cantwell, Darren Lapthorne, Travis Meyer, Lachlan Norris, Malcolm Rudolph and Wes and Bernard Sulzberger. The Melbourne to Warrnambool begins at 8am at the Werribee Park National Equestrian Centre and will finish at approximately 3pm at Raglan Parade, Warrnambool on Saturday, October 11.

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