One volunteer’s experience
The Elite Women’s ride – Saturday 26th January
As we arrived at Deakin Waterfront at 10am, there were already cyclists arriving back at the finish line after achieving the 35 or 65 km rides.
We were deployed into buses around the course for the Elite Women’s race. My first position was on Boundary Road, about 100 metres past the official race starting point, which was on Boundary Road near Portarlington Road. The whole group of elite cyclists flashed past in the blink of an eye, then it was off for us in the bus for a quick break at the Barwon Valley Fun Park (toilets, not playtime) before redeployment. Our group was near Queen’s Park Bridge. By sheer luck I was placed at the top of the course’s last short, but extremely steep hill, on Melville Avenue! Flash past? – the cyclists did not! The women’s race only completes one circuit, so the first riders up here had a very good chance of winning. By this point, the race was very fragmented, with at least 10 minutes between the first group and the last rider.
Leaders turn from Aphrasia into Melville Avenue 3.31pm
Even on this climb there was jockeying for position
Delighted to make the top
One rider cut the steepness by zig-zagging
Final rider 3.42pm.
They all had one thing in common – this was a hard climb! Without exception, the cyclists were in their lowest gear and off their seats for the steepest part!
A small crowd of cycling fans and locals were assembled and cheered the riders, from first to last.
By the time we were collected and returned to the Waterfront, it was all over. Who won? We only heard later!
Sunday, 27th January – Elite Men’s Ride
As the elite men’s ride included the whole course to Barwon Heads, Torquay, Bells Beach and Moriac, as well as an extra 3 complete circuits of the Geelong course, marshals were bidden to be at Deakin Waterfront by 8.45am. Once again, buses deployed us around the course.
My first placement was on Barwon Heads Road, in Marshall, opposite Barwarre Road. A group of 3 had formed a breakaway, and, despite the closeness to the start, were already minutes ahead of the field. The peleton showed no interest in chasing, and were cycling at a sedate pace – 35, 40, 45 kph – who can tell but, in Rod’s words it was ‘a whirr of many wheels’.
The Neutral spares vehicle preceded the cycists
The first breakaway – 11.25am
The peleton – 11.28am
No pressure yet!
Back of the peleton -11.28am
Our road closures removed, we were once again redeployed.
Once again, I was fortunate – marshaling pedestrians crossing Western Beach Road on the corner of Gheringhap Street – around 300 metres from the finish. The cyclists passed this point four times, the last one flat out in the sprint finish.
First time past the waterfront – 1.58pm
3.12pm – sprint finish
3.17pm – some of the final cyclists
Once again, it wasn’t till later that we learned the placings.
Elite Women’s Ride
- Arlenis Sierra (Cub) Astana Women’s Team
- Lucy Kennedy (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott Women
- Amanda Spratt (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott Women
Elite Men’s Race
- Elia Viviani (Ita) Deceuninck-QuickStep
- Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto Soudal
- Daryl Impey (RSA) Mitchelton-Scott
Helen Lyth (Route Marshal)
Add to the CEGORR 2019 story
Cycling Geelong members, please send in your own stories and photos of the 2019 Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race and People’s Ride so we can share them on this website.