AUSTRALIAN road cycling champion Simon Gerrans will be among the pack racing to Bendigo in next month's Jayco Herald-Sun Tour.
Stage two in the country's oldest stage race will finish near the heart of Bendigo on Friday, February 7.
A Tour de France stage winner, Gerrans will lead Orica GreenEDGE when the five-day tour starts on February 5 in Melbourne.
The Ballarat to Bendigo stage is on February 7. The 163km trek includes the daunting climb at Mount Alexander.
Riders will race along Pall Mall to the finish in front of Hotel Shamrock.
A 102-rider peloton includes Cannondale Pro Cycling and Garmin Sharp pitting their skills against the likes of Drapac Pro Cycling and Rapha Condor.
Drapac's squad for this year's road racing action includes Bendigo's Darren Lapthorne and Robbie Hucker, and Barkers Creek's Lachlan Norris.
Several of the stars who will race the Jayco-backed classic have been competing in this week's Santos Tour Down Under in South Australia.
City of Greater Bendigo Mayor Cr Barry Lyons said the Jayco Herald-Sun Tour stage finish was eagerly awaited by sporting fans and cycling enthusiasts.
“This is a terrific opportunity to welcome this iconic event back to Bendigo and witness the thrilling finish of stage two in Pall Mall in the heart of our beautiful city," Cr Lyons said.
“Bendigo has a long and proud history and is a well-known cycling city."
The Bendigo International Madison track classic draws a top-class field and hundreds of spectators each year.
The popular athletics-cycling carnival is run on the Labour Day holiday weekend in March at the Tom Flood Sports Centre.
In early February the focus for many cyclists and fans is on the road.
“I urge all interested residents to come along and experience this fantastic spectator experience,” said Cr Lyons.
The Tour Village will run from 1.30pm to 4.30pm and will feature free entertainment for families and bike enthusiasts.
Activities include sampling produce from the Bendigo Farmers Market, and wine tastings from a selection of Bendigo Winegrowers Association vineyards.