SOME daunting climbs and windswept stretches will test all contenders in this weekend's battle for glory in the Merv Dean Memorial Tour hosted by Bendigo and District Cycling Club.
The seniors three-day classic is being sponsored by Precision Formworking and starts on Saturday afternoon at Woodstock from 1pm.
A 101km duel at Woodstock will be followed by a 12km time trial on Sunday morning at Bagshot and then a 74km stage in and around Bagshot.
Then it's off to the testing circuits at Emu Creek for a 52km battle and then 65km finale on Monday.
Placings and prizemoney will be up for grabs across three grades.
After a stunning victory in the McCaig Daikin Airconditioning-backed Bendigo International Madison track classic last March, Sam Crome will be aiming to shine in the A-grade tour on the road.
The Bendigo cyclist said the time trial would be crucial to overall hopes.
"Because the time trial is 12km it will be go as fast as you can for as long as you can.
"Every stage will be a test, especially the two on Monday at Harcourt," Crome said on Tuesday.
The BDDC classic is his biggest hit-out since the four-day Tour of Toowoomba.
Crome had to fight back from illness and a crash in training to make it to the start line in Toowoomba and race for Charter Mason-Giant.
Crome believes the tour will be won through all-round ability instead of being able to dominate in one stage.
The first-year nursing student at Latrobe University Bendigo said goals as the road season rolls on include the Tour of Tasmania, Melbourne to Warrnambool, and more rounds in the national road series.
Rising stars from near and far will compete in the Hadden Farren Land Surveyors junior tour.
It's the sixth consecutive year Hadden Farren has chipped in to back the junior classics. Racing will be on Saturday and Sunday.
The junior tour starts at Newbridge at 10am on Saturday when the under 11-13 and under 15-17 grades contest time trials. Distances will range from 6.2km to 10km.
Stage two starts at 1.15pm at Newbridge on Saturday.
A testing leg for the A-grade field in the under 15-17 division is two laps on a 25km course from Newbridge to Tarnagulla and return to Newbridge via Laanecoorie.
Juniors head to Harcourt on Sunday morning for the third stage at 9.30am. Distances range from 13km to 40km.
A highlight will be racing for the Merv Dean Memorial trophy in stage three at Mount Alexander.
The finale to the junior tour is on the Harcourt criterium cricuit on Sunday afternoon.