NEWLY crowned Victorian metropolitan road cycling champion Nathan Elliott will line up in the scratch bunch in the Fred Icke Handicap at Creswick tomorrow.
Elliott underlined his physical and mental strength to capture the title in trying conditions at Harcourt on Saturday.
Just 24 riders finished the 111-kilometre event, which was part of a double-header with the country championships.
Tomorrow’s 18-strong scratch group will also feature metro J19 champion Jack Cummings and runner-up Alex Morgan, and country championship runner-up Brenton Jones (Warragul) and third placegetter Trent Stevenson (Shepparton).
Jay Bourke will be host club Ballarat Sebastopol Cycling Club’s only scratch rider.
He will be joined by Search@Retain teammate Cameron Bayly, from Norwood in South Australia.
Last year’s Creswick Community Bank Fred Icke Handicap winner Robert Mann is making the return trip from Mt Gambier to defend his title and will ride off 14 minutes. He will line-up alongside hometown teenager Liam White, who was runner-up last year.
Ballarat Sebastopol Cycling Club has been swamped with 165 entries, with the outmarkers to start the 133-kilometre event of 36 minutes.
The $6000 handicap starts and finishes in Creswick, covering three laps of a 44.3km anti-clockwise circuit taking in Newlyn, Blampied, Smeaton and Allendale.
For the first time, the event will finish at the band rotunda at the top of a rise in Creswick’s main street.
BSCC is also offering a $1000 bonus to anyone who can win the Fred Icke-Melbourne to Ballarat Classic double.
• THE Fred Icke Junior Handicap has attracted 22 riders, with Angus Lyons (BSCC) joining Lucas Hamilton (Ararat) and Tom Russel (Hawthorn) on scratch.