Creswick has waited - now it's time to play

CRESWICK has waited 35 years to host the state's best country players in this important showdown.

Plays starts early this morning for the Victorian Country Inter-Regional Tennis Championships on Mt Prospect Tennis Association courts.

Central Highlands' Alix Ford has one of the toughest assignments up first. Ford will play number one girls' under-12 seed Amy Stevens, from the dominant Barwon region.

The championships will showcase two male and two female players in each age group who will play singles, doubles and mixed doubles for the 11 following regions: Mornington Peninsula, Central Gippsland, East Gippsland, the North East, Goulburn, Loddon Campaspe, Northern Mallee, the Wimmera, Glenelg and perennial benchmark Barwon.

The under-12, 14, 16, 18, open and over-45 categories will be contested.

Check the full draw here.

IN CYCLING, the Bay Cycling Classic criteriums move to Geelong's Eastern Park today from 11.30am. It is a short turnaround for the competitors after last night's opening round along the Geelong Waterfront.

Victorian Zakkari Dempster, riding for the SASI team, triumphed in the elite men's race featuring Orica-GreenEDGE pro stars Matt Goss and Luke Durbridge.

Dual road race world champion Giorgia Bronzini of Italy won the first criterium in one of the strongest women's fields in the event's history.

The four-stage series will move to Portarlington tomorrow and Williamstown on Sunday, a great lead-in to the Cycling Australia Road National Championships.

DID YOU see the late addition of 2011 Australian road race winner  Matt Lloyd to a bumper Cycling Australia Road National Championships elite men's field?

Race numbers were released late yesterday.

Defending road race and time trial champion Luke Durbridge (ORICE-GreenEDGE) will wear number one. Should Cadel Evans ride  - and fingers crossed, the 2011 Tour de France champ will say yes - he will wear number.....well, you can check the whole field here.

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