Preview: NRS Mitchelton Tour Of Gippsland – Men

  • By: AusCycling
  • Feb 15, 2022
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The second race of the AusCycling National Road Series (NRS) hits the start line tomorrow at the 2022 Mitchelton Tour of Gippsland for what will be three days of attacking racing in Victoria’s Bass Coast region.

The return of the Mitchelton Tour of Gippsland is a welcome sight to the NRS peloton, which last raced in the region in 2019.

Jimmy Whelan (Team BridgeLane) enters as the leader of the NRS following his spirited Santos Festival of Cycling (SFoC) general classification win a fortnight ago in Adelaide, while under-21 jersey holder Rudy Porter (InForm TMX MAKE) will not defend his lead in Gippsland.


Stage 1 – Woolamai Circuit Road Race (110.8km)

Stage 1 Gippsland

The Mitchelton Tour of Gippsland opens with its hardest stage on paper, a hilly road race starting and finishing at Woolamai Racecourse.

The NRS men will have to be alert and primed to go for Stage 1 given the presence of two major climbs on each of the four laps.

The climb of Glen Forbes Gorge (4.0km at 4.8%) is slightly harder than the Mill Rd climb (3.8km at 3.7%), but it’s also more consistent.

The latter contains multiple steep sections and peaks just 3km from the finish, making it an obvious launchpad for attackers.

Glen Forbes Gorge could serve as a circuit breaker for the bunch and could become more of a selective climb rather than a breakaway’s paradise.

Stage 2 – Inverloch Road Race (111.7km)

Stage 2 Gippsland

There’s more climbing in store on the second stage, based at the coastal township of Inverloch.

However, the locals’ favourite climb of Mount Misery (3km at 6.5%) peaks at just 21km into Stage 2, meaning it’s unlikely to prove decisive, however, this is the NRS, where nothing is ever off the table.

From there, the riders will tackle a punchy ascent of the categorised climb of Kongwak Rd (1.5km at 4.7%) before entering onto a small circuit for two laps which contains another two ascents of Kongwak Rd, the last of which comes 22km from the finish.

The run home to Inverloch shouldn’t be particularly challenging and could very well lead to a bunch sprint.

In contrast to that, the climbing specialists of the NRS have an opportunity to escape on the early climb and if the right riders come together, it could spell a long day for the chasing peloton.

Stage 3 – Rhyll Criterium (42km)

Stage 3 Gippsland

The final stage is a flat, rectangular criterium in the small fishing town of Rhyll on Phillip Island.

It looks to be a straightforward course, but the exposed sections along the seaside could bring the wind into play.

This stage should suit the sprinters.

Riders To Watch

Whelan showed in January that he is all business in 2022, with a silver medal at the 2022 AusCycling Federation University Road National Championships in Ballarat and his previously mentioned triumph at the SFoC.

Stating the former WorldTour rider is a man on a mission is an understatement, Whelan wants back in at the highest level of the sport and he wants it badly – the Melburnian will be a marked man in Gippsland.

Jimmy Whelan at SFoC

With Blake Quick (InForm TMX MAKE) en route to Europe and Porter not racing in Gippsland the onus will largely fall at the feet of Brenton Jones for InForm TMX MAKE’s ambitions over the coming days.

Jones’ role in delivering Quick to the line over the past month to several wins as his lead-out man has been understated brilliance and he very well could have won those races himself.

Another rider who stamped his mark on the summer of cycling was none other than current Willunga champion Angus Lyons (ARA Pro Racing Sunshine Coast).

Lyons will be riding high on confidence following his SFoC success and could have the peloton in panic mode should he decide to lay down some power over one of the Mitchelton Tour of Gippsland climbs.

Angus Lyons at SFoC

Lyons is not the only man travelling to Gippsland with confidence – enter Cyrus Monk (Cycle House Racing).

Monk’s mullet was flying in the United Arab Emirates a fortnight ago, achieving his first UCI-level win at the Tour of Sharjah courtesy of an 8.8km individual time trial victory with Meiyo CCN Pro Cycling.

If a breakaway does succeed over the coming days then don’t be surprised if Monk plays a leading role in it.

Other names which we expect to feature at the pointy end of the Mitchelton Tour of Gippsland include Whelan’s teammate Nick White (Team BridgeLane)ARA Pro Racing Sunshine Coast powerhouse Kane RichardsNero Continental’s Cooper Sayers and Oliver’s Real Food Racing’s Brendon Davids.

One young rider to also keep an eye on will be the diminutive Fergus Browning (InForm TMX MAKE), who impressed at the recent Road Nationals in the under-23 category.

Fergus Browning at RoadNats22

Where To Follow

Tuesday’s Stage 3 will be live streamed on SBS On Demand and the SBS Cycling Central Facebook page from 11:40am–2pm AEDT.

You can watch Stage 1 and Stage 2 highlights on SBS On Demand and the SBS Cycling Central website each day.

Follow the Tour of Gippsland on Facebook and Instagram, and get daily updates from AusCycling on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

For more information, visit the Tour of Gippsland website.

Pictures: Russ Ellis and Con Chronis

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