Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Tour of the Murray heads to Echuca

Campaspe Shire will host the fifth leg of the Tour of the Murray on Friday.

ERIN LYONS July 30, 2014 3:05am

The fifth stage of the Tour of the Murray kicks off in Echuca on Friday and is set to attract more than 220 Australian and international cyclists.

The six-day tour started in Mildura yesterday and the 705km seven-stage event covers Robinvale, Quambatook, Kerang, Cohuna, Echuca, Nathalia and Cobram.

The Echuca leg will begin on Murray Esplanade.

Riders will then travel through Lockington, Rochester and Nanneella before finishing at Echuca racecourse.

The tour will also run alongside the women’s race, which for the first time will be condensed into a three-day, three-stage event.

The women will begin at 9.30am, finishing about 11.45am while the men’s begins at 2pm, ending at 4.15pm.

Riders are expected to face difficult cross winds and adverse conditions along the way.

Echuca-Moama rider Minda Murray is one of 224 competitors, along with Melbourne’s Patrick Lane, who has returned to Australian soil after six years racing internationally.

The list of participants also includes international riders, Serena Lee from Singapore, Raphael Freinstein from Germany and Grace Phang from Malaysia.

Series leader, Joe Cooper will be absent from the competition as he is recovers from a fractured pelvis.

Yesterday, Brenton Jones from Avanti Racing took out the first stage of the competition with a time of 3:32.31, closely followed by teammate Neil Van Der Ploeg and German rider, Raphael Freinstein.

Events organiser Marty Tobin said participating riders would visit many schools along the way to inform youth about road safety, cycling attire and the health and fitness benefits of recreational and competitive cycling.

He said community involvement was vital, with 48 event supervisors, police officers and first aid staff working behind the scenes.

Campaspe Shire also contributed $10,000 to the event, for the region to host stage five of the tour.

The event will finish in Yarrawonga on Sunday.

The tour of the Great South Coast will be the next event on the Subaru National Road Series calendar.

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