HUNDREDS of people lined the finish line as the world’s best cyclists rode into the heart of Bendigo on Friday.
Cycling fans of all ages tried to get a glimpse of their favourite riders in the Herald Sun Tour.
The balcony at the Shamrock Hotel provided spectators with the best view point of the final sprint finish, with winner Simon Clarke claiming stage two ahead of Cameron Wurf and Bendigo’s own Jack Haig.
Stage two is the longest stage in the tour with cyclists travelling 163 kilometres.
The scorching heat played a big part of the race, with several riders dropping out, failing to complete the stage.
Friday’s ride began in Ballarat and then went to Creswick, Blampied, Daylesford, Hepburn, Guildford, Fryerstown, Castlemaine and then into Bendigo.
City of Greater Bendigo mayor Barry Lyons was on hand to wave the checkered flag as riders crossed the finish line.
Clarke also claimed the overall lead, donning the yellow jersey.
The Orica GreenEdge star celebrated the stage win by popping a bottle of champagne on stage in front of his fans.
A contingent of central Victorian cyclists contested the event, including Barkers Creek man Lachlan Norris.
Competing in the Pro Drapac Cycling team, Norris finished in 12th position.
Norris said it was an advantage knowing what roads the riders would travel on.
“I knew what to expect and knew what was coming up, it was good.
“A couple of riders knew the roads.”
Norris said despite the heat and tough conditions it was fun to ride in Bendigo.
“It is always good to be back in your home-town, in your own environment and on the streets you know and having a home crowd cheer you on it is pretty cool,” he said.
Stage three of the Herald Sun Tour begins at the Mitchelton Winery on Saturday.