O'Shea races Melbourne to Warrnambool road cycling classic 

AN Olympic and world champion in track cycling, Eaglehawk’s Glenn O’Shea will chase more glory in tomorrow’s 262km Melbourne to Warrnambool road classic.

The Camolina-backed $25,000 race is Australia’s most prestigious and longest road cycling event.

A field of 229 will start the gruelling trek from Werribee Racecourse at 7.30am.

Tomorrow is O’Shea’s second start in the great race.

His debut was in 2007, which was by long-time coach Tim Decker.

“Because of track commitments and illness, I haven’t raced to Warrnambool since ’07,” O’Shea said last night from his Adelaide home.

“The distance, history (117th year) and the windy conditions are what make the Melbourne to Warrnambool such an iconic event.”

Although he took a well-earned break after winning gold in the teams pursuit at the London Olympics, O’Shea believes he has the fitness and mental toughness to do well on the road.

O’Shea achieved fastest time in last Saturday’s Alex Roberts Memorial 100 mile at Mount Gambier.

His versatility, which won gold in the six-discpline omnium at this year’s world track cycling titles in Melbourne, is another huge plus.

“Tim (Decker) has helped a lot in training for this race. We have done a fair amount of one-on-one motor pacing,” said the dual winner of the bankmecu-sponsored Bendigo Advertiser-WIN Television Sports Star of the Year award.

Riders from Bendigo in tomorrow’s classic include Sam Crome, Luke Knox, Peter Ladd, Jarrod Moroni, Noel and Peter Sens, while the in-form Darren Lapthorne and Barkers Creek’s Lachlan Norris, racing for Drapac, were in hot form in the Tour of Tasmania.

History has shown the sprint up Warrnambool’s Raglan Parade, tipped to be about 2pm tomorrow, is rarely a big bunch.

“The last 60 kilometres is where most of the moves are made,” O’Shea said of his attempt to join Bendigo stars Zak Dempster, 2008; Decker, ’07; Chris White, ’96; and Andy Stirling, ’91; as a Melbourne to Warrannbool champion.  

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