THE largest field of elite women riders assembled for the event will take to the King Valley this weekend in round 5 of Cycling Australia Subaru National Road Series.
The 86 riders, including a handful of international competitors, begin with a time trial this morning followed by a 12-lap, 38-kilometre criterium on a circuit carved out of the Wangaratta air strip from 3pm.
Tomorrow the peloton will tackle the 100-kilometre road race that includes a testing 5.9-kilometre ‘Strade Nero’ dirt road climb to Whitlands.
Race director Marty Tobin said the field size showed the rise of cycling as a national sport.
“This is the largest field for a women’s round of the Subaru National Road Series and it shows how cycling has grown in Australia in the past few years,” he said.
“The Strade Nero climb will certainly test riders this year.
“The surface isn’t as smooth as it was last year so I expect the climb to play a significant role in the race.
“Sunday’s stage 4, although flatter, will test out the legs of riders after two tough days of competition.”
Ruth Corset (Holden Women’s Cycling) will be looking to extend her series lead over Lizzie Williams (Specialized Securitor) over the weekend.
“Ruth is in great form at the moment and will be looking to go one place better than last year’s tour where she was runner-up to Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Katrin Garfoot,” Holden women’s cycling team sports director Julien Knuppel said.