TWO of Bendigo's best cyclists in recent years, Zak Dempster and George Tansley will be team-mates when the Mitchelton Bay Classic criterium series starts on Thursday.
Dempster and Tansley are in the South Australia Sports Institute team for the four-day duel on the streets in Geelong, Portarlington and Williamstown.
A field of 64 riders will vie for individual and team honours in the men's elite event.
Bendigo's Sam Crome will race for Charter Mason, a development squad affiliated with Drapac, against many powerful line-ups.
Teams to watch include Subaru NSWIS, Orica GreenEdge, Budget Forklifts, Chain Reaction, Rapha Condor JLT, and Jayco VIS.
The women's elite field includes Bendigo's Peta Mullens racing with Wiggle Honda against the strong Orica-AIS team. Mullens was runner-up for individual honours in the 2013 Bay Classic.
There will be men's support races for individuals and teams.
Bendigo cyclists in the support events are Aidan Bowe, Mark Flood, Chris Hamilton, Tim Hucker, Peter Ladd, Corey Mitchell, Jarrod Moroni, Tasman Nankervis, Luke Knox, Robert Oakenfull and Todd Schintler.
Round one is on Thursday at Ritchie Boulevard, Geelong. First event is at 3pm. The women's elite race starts at 5pm and will be followed the elite men at 6pm.