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Welcome to Gran Fondo USA >> Nikias Arndt and Annemiek van Vleuten return to defend titles

Nikias Arndt and Annemiek van Vleuten return to defend titles

International cycling stars Nikias Arndt (Team Sunweb) and Annemiek van Vleuten (ORICA-SCOTT) will return for the 2018 Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race to defend their titles

The Team Sunweb sprinter, 26, recorded his fifth professional win in the 2017 edition of the UCI WorldTour Elite Men’s Race after staging an incredible comeback.

After being distanced on the Challambra Crescent climb, Arndt said this week the stoic victory in the modern-day classic was: “The biggest win of my career”.

“It’s very physical, it’s a hard race, it’s the perfect race. I’m training hard already, preparing well and looking forward to getting the chance to defend it,” he said.

Australian cycling fans will be especially thrilled to see the German powerhouse return after his instrumental support of Australian teammate Michael Matthews to win the Green Jersey in this year’s Tour de France.

Although Arndt’s elevated reputation in peloton now attracts more attention. “Everyone will make it a bit harder for me [at the 2018 Cadel Road Race]. Everyone knows of me more so they will try to attack me. That’s what I expect but, so far, I’m in good shape and I will go for it.”

Arndt and the field will be out to claim valuable UCI WorldTour points on Sunday 28 January before heading to the European Classics season, which begins in Belgium in February.

Nikias Arndt (Team Sunweb) returns to defend title

With the Deakin University Elite Women’s Race also being elevated to UCI 1.1 classification next year, the line up in 2018 will be the best yet.

The return of the world’s fastest woman in cycling, van Vleuten, is exciting for fans and organisers alike. The Dutch star became the 2017 World Time Trial Champion in September – just 13 months after crashing heavily in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games road race.

After winning gold in Norway, the 34-year-old said: “The downs make the ups even more beautiful. [Winning the world title] after crashing in Rio makes the story really special.”

Annemiek van Vleuten (ORICA-SCOTT) will return to the 2018 Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race to defend her title

Minister for Tourism and Major Events, John Eren, said the calibre of international riders starting their season in Australia, including at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, was a win for cycling and the Geelong region.

“We now have races of the highest international classification for both men and women’s cycling, which means we have the best of the best coming to the state – and importantly it showcases the region to the world,” he said.

Race Director Scott Sunderland also announced updates to the men’s and women’s road race courses – which already take in spectacular scenery around Barwon Heads, Torquay and Geelong.

“We will see the 2018 Elite Men tackle the iconic climb, Challambra Crescent, a fourth time,” he said. “While it will be the first time in the event’s history that the women race over Challambra Crescent."

“This is going to be an incredible viewing opportunity for spectators as they get to see the riders up close on the hardest climb. There’s no hiding on Challambra – and that’s what’s great about it. It just makes everyone give that extra few per cent.”

After the Challambra challenge the riders will have just nine kilometres remaining before the sprint to the finish line in front of huge crowds at Geelong Waterfront.

Elite Women tackle the iconic climb of Challambra Crescent

Other highlights ahead for the fourth edition of the Cadel Road Race include:

Elite Men

2016 winner Peter Kennaugh (Bora Hansgrohe) will also return for another attempt at the title.

The CEGORR is the first of 16 one-day classics that form part of the 37 events making up the UCI WorldTour calendar in 2018.

Domestic riders will compete on the world stage in their own country with a national representative team confirmed in both the Men’s and Women’s races.

Elite Women

2016 winner Amanda Spratt (ORICA-SCOTT) will also return in search of another victory.

Three sprints will take place with points awarded 3-2-1 for the first three place getters.

Deakin University has again thrown its support behind the event with Vice Chancellor Professor Jane den Hollander announcing an extension of the women’s race partnership.

Cadel Road Race

Distance

Start

Expected Finish

Presentations

Ave speed

Classification

Elite Women

113km

11.20am

2.30pm

2.45pm

37.5km/h

UCI 1.1

Elite Men

164km

11.10am

3.15pm

3.30pm

41.2km/h

UCI WorldTour

 

2018 Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race event Schedule:

Thursday 25 January (Melbourne)

Towards Zero Race Melbourne, Albert Park
Elite Women’s Race (CRT)
Elite Men’s Race (CRT)

Saturday 27 January (Geelong)

Swisse People’s Ride
Deakin University Elite Women’s Race UCI 1.1

Sunday 28 January (Geelong)          

Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race
UCI WorldTour Elite Men’s Race

To stay up-to-date with all the news, events and registration information visit cadelevansgreatoceanroadrace.com.au

Follow @cadelroadrace on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. #CadelRoadRace

Spectacular scenery around Barwon Heads, Torquay and Geelong