MORE than 120 riders, including state and national champions, will line up in a high-quality John Woodman Memorial race on Sunday.
The 136-kilometre handicap from Wagga to Albury has this year been bolstered by national riders headed for the Mildura start of the Tour of the Murray on Tuesday.
Race organiser Ken Payne said there would be plenty of Border riders looking to make the most of their handicap start on the race favourites.
“The most outstanding of these may be Brian Harris, who has already won the Cootamundra Road Open earlier this year,” he said.
“Gerard Wild will be out to make amends for last year, when he crashed at high speed on the Jindera Gap.
“Damian Christian is always present in the lead group, as may be Paul Ingwersen, Jacob Hanna, Brad Peitsch and Brendan Washington.”
Payne said the starters would be dispatched in four groups, the front markers to get almost a 30-minute headstart on the race favourites.
“The powerful St George Cycling Club from Sydney will field at least 12 riders, including multiple National and State Champion Jackson Law and guest rider Russell Gill, of Adelaide, who is the race favourite off the back markers,” he said.
“Former Olympian Steven Fairless, of Shepparton, will also show a strong presence, and will have Trent Stevenson and Brad Scott along for company so the St George riders do not have it all their own way.
“Unfortunately, due to team commitments, national road cyclist Neil Van Der Ploeg will be unable to compete.
“As in the past it is expected to be a race between the back markers and group three, who typically have been given a headstart of about 20 minutes.”
The course does not follow the Olympic Way but passes through Mangoplah, Cookardinia, Morven, Culcairn, Walla and Jindera and is expected to finish at Lavington Hall in Urana Road at about 1.20pm.