ELITE MEN A record field of 104 riders will contest the Elite Men’s Series. 15 Teams will be represented including Orica-GreenEDGE, Avanti Racing, Budget Forklifts, JLT Condor, CharterMason Giant, SASI, AMR Renault Racing, Chain Reaction, health.com.au-search2retain, Seight, Wormall CCS, Total Rush Hyster, Swift Carbon MCL, Data #3 and the New Zealand National Team. 2013 ‘Bay Crits’ champion Caleb Ewan (pictured above) looms as the rider to beat, particularly as he will supported by an incredibly strong Orica-GreenEDGE team comprising Leigh Howard, Cam Meyer, Mitch Docker, Michael Hepburn and Damien Howson. Caleb is excited about his chances of another Bay Classic victory. ?I was a little bit in disbelief and so happy to win in Geelong two years ago. It was special because it gave me a whole lot of confidence moving forward in my career and put me on the radar of a few pro teams.? I’d love to do well again? Despite the strength of the Orica contingent the field is littered with many fantastic riders who would certainly fancy their chances of victory. One such rider is the current Australian Criterium Champion Steele Von Hoff, who has a point to prove in 2015. Steele was an unfortunate victim of the merger between Garmin-Sharp and Cannondale, losing his ride in a World Tour team for 2015. However, he has signed with Continental Team NFTO, and is determined to use the NFTO opportunity to show what he can do, and then to return to the top ranks of the sport in 2016. ?The Bay Crits are always some of the toughest races that we do all year. They are my favourite way to start the year! I look forward to it for so many reasons; I love being able to have all of my friends come along and cheer me on which isn’t the case for most of the season when I’m in Europe. Also I love the racing – it’s fun but challenging courses in the hot weather, its always nice and sunny in January!? Other riders to watch include Individual Pursuit World Champion Alexander Edmondson (SASI) and Andre Greipel?s lead-out man, New Zealand?s Greg Henderson. 2015 Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic: Elite Men’s Start List ELITE WOMEN A truly world class field of 58 Elite Women will contest the Series – including 9 teams: Wiggle Downunder, Roxsolt, Orica-AIS, Holden Cycling, BikeBug/NextGen, Bicycle Superstore, Novotel Geelong, SUVelo and Specialised Securitor. The standout rider appears to be former road race world champion and 2014 Bay Crits Champion Giorgia BRONZINI (Wiggle). And the calibre of the Wiggle team supporting Giorgia is one of the strongest ever seen on Australian soil – Emilia FAHLIN (Sweden), Eileen Roe (British Criterium Champion), Chloe HOSKING (2014 BayCrits Stage 2 winner), Georgia Baker and Jessica Mundy (Australian Madison Champion). Jessica Mundy was understandably excited to be racing on the same team as Bronzini – ?Giorgia’s results speak for themselves: she is twice World Road Champion and has also won Gold on the track. I’m really looking forward to racing with her?.
Despite the strength of the Wiggle team, the form rider in Australia recently, Kimberley Wells (Roxsolt), looms as a serious threat. And she seems quitely confident too.
“A friend told me I’ve done the trifecta for Aussie Summer Crit racing by winning Noosa, Launceston Crit & St Kilda Supercrit. I love the Bay Crits; they’re fast, challenging & great races for spectators. When I last raced I came 3rd overall and won the first stage. I can’t wait to get back to Geelong.” Well?s Roxsolt team is also incredibly strong – Tiffany CROMWELL, Carlee TAYLOR, Jo Hogan, Lauren KITCHEN and Loren ROWNEY are all very accomplished riders and more than capable of winning individual stages if the opportunity arises. The ORICA-AIS team is also exceptionally strong. It features the current Australian Criterium and Road Race Champions – Sarah Roy and Gracie ELVIN. However, in a rarity for Orica Teams racing in Australia, they will not start as the favourites in the 2015 Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic. That probably says volumes for the quality of the women?s field. Suffice to say that it will be hotly contested racing for the Elite Women’s ‘BayCrits’ title. 2015 Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic: Elite Women’s Start List SUPPORT EVENTS There will also be three support events contested during the Bay Classic – Support Men (Teams and Individuals), Masters and Juniors. The Support Men will race on all four days, while the Masters (Day 3, Portarlington) and Juniors (Day 4, Williamstown) will compete just once. All the action kicks off at Geelong’s Eastern Beach today. Good luck to all participants! OVERVIEW Stage 1: Friday January 2 – Ritchie Boulevard Stage 2: Saturday January 3 – Eastern Park Stage 3: Sunday January 4 – Portarlington Stage 4: Monday January 5 – Williamstown Known affectionately as the ‘Bay Crits,’ the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic is the first race back for most riders after the off-season break,?providing a great?chance to get race ready before the Road Nationals, Tour Down Under and the inaugural Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race later in the month.