Some of the world’s best female cyclists have again been celebrated on the Surf Coast with the return of the Welcome Wave.
Part of the annual Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, the Welcome Wave is an initiative started by the Surf Coast Shire seven years ago and run each year since to officially greet the UCI Women’s WorldTour riders to the region.
This year’s event returned to the Jan Juc SLSC clubrooms yesterday (Tuesday, January 23) evening, where the 160 cyclists and their support staff received a bell-clattering welcome, before they headed to the back lawn for a Welcome to Country and smoking ceremony from Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Corinna Eccles and Anthony Hume.
The cyclists then mingled with special guests and enjoyed canapes while hearing tunes from local musician Jasmin Adria and getting photos with some of Australia’s famous native animals thanks to Wildlife Xposure.
Surf Coast resident and media personality Nicky Buckley was the event’s MC, and introduced speakers including Surf Coast Shire chief executive officer Robyn Seymour, shire mayor Liz Pattison, Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race director Scott Sunderland (who formally introduced all 16 teams), and Deakin University vice-chancellor Professor Iain Martin.
Ms Buckley also conducted a quickfire but light-hearted Q&A with Women’s WorldTour riders Ruby Roseman-Gannon (LIV – AlUla – Jayco) and Grace Brown (FDJ Suez) as well as Cadel Evans himself.
The trio fielded an entertaining array of questions, including their go-to “pump up” song – “Hey Ya” by Outkast, “Ridin’ Solo” by Jason Derulo and “Glory Days” by Bruce Springsteen, respectively.
The Women’s WorldTour teams will be in action today in the first on-road event in the 2024 Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race: the Geelong Classic, to be held in the Eastern Gardens near the Geelong Waterfront from 5.30-7pm.
Read Surf Coast Times story here.
Image credit: (L-R) Christine Webster, Franziska Koch, Francesca Barale, Nienke Vinke, Eleonora Ciabocco, Abi Smith from DSM-Firmenich PostNL. Photos: PETER MARSHALL