Peloton Cafe || 2014 Amy’s Gran Fondo (image copyright Veeral Patel)
Pedal power replaced cars as a record number of participants joined the people?s peloton to experience the joy of riding the fully closed Great Ocean Road as part of the wiggle Amy?s Gran Fondo. The fourth edition of the event held in memory of Australian cycling team member Amy Gillett, witnessed just over 5,000 riders taking on three distances along the iconic Victorian coast line. The participants included US actress Katherine Kelly Lang
from The Bold and the Beautiful, Australian actor Anthony LaPaglia
, known for this role FBI agent Jack Malone in the hit US series Without a Trace, Minister for Sport and Recreation Damian Drum
, along with thousands of MAMIL?s and MAWIL?s (middle aged men and women in lycra), mum?s, dad?s and their children. It is expected that the sell-out field will raise close to $100,000 for the Amy Gillett Foundation and inject millions into the Surf Coast and Otway Shire economies. Many of Australia?s top female cyclists hit the open road at the front of the main field, racing in the inaugural Amy?s Otway Classic as part of the Cycling Australia Subaru National Road Series.
19-year-old Queenslander Ellen Skerritt
(HWC) was crowned as the first ever winner of the one day classic. Skerritt and teammate Ruth Corset
formed a two rider breakaway early in the race and rode to the finish line together hand-in-hand. ?I?m so excited this is my first win in the NRS, after having a really bad start to the year I couldn?t be happier? Skerritt was full of praise for Corset?s team work during the race ?I?m so grateful for her, we worked really well together.?
The event was also the opening race in the 2015 UCI World Cycling Tour series, the global amateur and masters? series that culminates in the 2015 Amateur World Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark. The top 25% of riders in each age category today qualify to represent Australia in Denmark. Australian mountain bike representative Peta Mullens
produced a gallant defence of her over all Gran Fondo title, going down by just over a minute to three time world champion rower and London Olympian Robyn Selby Smith
. Rounding out the winner?s podium was Katherine Woolston
. Smith was surprised to find she posted the fastest time as this was the first large scale cycling event she has entered. In the men?s it was African Wildlife Safaris national series team member Michael Crosbie
who won his first 110km Gran Fondo crown from Brendan Canty
and Todd Buschkuehl
. ?This is one of the races the team really wanted to focus on. As a team we rode really well, did everything right and I was lucky to come away with the win.? Amy?s Gran Fondo is a vital event in generating fundraising that allows the Amy Gillett Foundation to continue their mission of safe cycling in Australia. Helping fund research honours students to further AGF?s leading research in bike rider safety, as well as deliver policy based campaigns nationally are just some of the primary objectives. The event also contributes to the global ?Cycling for all? efforts by promoting shared respect between motorists and bike riders in an effort to reduce the incidence of death and injury of bike riders through improved conditions for cycling.
If the 4,500 riders participating in the 110km Gran Fondo and 40km Medio Fondo weren?t already short of breath, they were soon gasping for air, as they experienced breathtaking views of the Bass Strait along the Great Ocean Road. Leaving the Medio Fondo riders in Apollo Bay, Gran Fondo participants embarked on several taxing climbs in the Otway Ranges. In the process riders experiencing a stunning change of scenery, with sea views replaced by a dense forest canopy that covered riders all the way to the finish in Benwerrin. Meanwhile 250 mums, dads and their kids enjoyed the Piccolo Fondo, which featured 7km of closed Great Ocean Road, turning around at Cumberland River and returning to Lorne. Amy Gillett Foundation CEO Tracey Gaudry was full of praise for the record breaking field. ?Amy?s Gran Fondo in its fourth year already had the recipe right, but this year we wanted to put the icing on the cake.? ?We strove to sell out the event and we have achieved over 5,000 participants. We created Amy?s Wall, a spectacular opener for the event and we put the women first, by staging Amy?s Otway Classic before the main race.? Amy Gillett Foundation Patron Simon Gillett said along with the perfect weather, there were many other successes for this year?s event. ?Over 5,000 participants now carry the message of safety back into their local communities? ?We?ve already close to $80,000 dollars, which is vital for the Amy Gillett Foundation to achieve its mission.? Gillett said. Wiggle.com.au Brand Ambassador for Australia and New Zealand, Adam Johnson was delighted to be involved with the event. ?Wiggle is excited to involved as naming rights sponsor for the 2014 Wiggle Amy?s Gran Fondo.? ?We aim to make bike riding more enjoyable for all Australians. The Amy?s Gillett Foundations Mission and Vision of safe bike riding and zero fatalities is something wiggle.com.au strongly supports.? On the Saturday before the event, the inaugural Amy?s Wall
provided the perfect warm-up for the weekend. The 110m section of the iconic Bay Street hill. The heats saw four riders take off from a standing-start, hitting more than 20% in the first brutal metres of the climb, with Peta Mullens
and Liam Hill
taking out the women?s and men?s events. 2014 Amy?s Otway Classic ? Top Ten Women?s National Road Series Event
2014 Wiggle Amy?s Gran Fondo (110km) ? Category Placings ?
||Robyn Selby Smith