Is the Great Vic Bike Ride one of Australia’s greatest cycling breeding grounds?
Pro riders Simon Clarke and Brendan Canty are both alumni of the Great Vic, and it has been revealed that it’s also where our new national champion Sarah Gigante cut her teeth.
Earlier this month, 18-year-old Victorian Sarah Gigante (Roxsolt-Attaquer) stunned the bike world by taking out both the U23s road race and the elite road race at the national championships in Buninyong, beating seasoned pros from around the world.
To say it was impressive is an understatement.
Last year, Gigante broke both her arms in a crash, but managed to make it back to compete in the Junior Track World Championships and represented Australia at the Road World Championships.
On top of this she completed her year 12 studies and scored a perfect ATAR of no less than 99.95.
Speaking to SBS Cycling Central after her wins at the National Championships, her mum Kerry talked about all the work Sarah had to do to get back to fitness and finish school after breaking her arms.
She also spoke about how Sarah joined her on the Great Vic Bike Ride when she was six years old, riding on a tagalong and tandem.
However, after a couple of years of riding in tow Sarah said she wanted to do it herself and tackle the 500+ kilometre event with her own bike.
Sarah’s enthusiasm for riding was so abundant that she was even used to help promote the Great Vic event in 2006 and again in 2010 with a picture of her riding used in promotional flyers (see above).
After declaring that she wanted to go solo, Kerry realised Sarah was serious about riding and helped her join Brunswick Cycling Club, and the rest, as they say, is history.
While it might be a little bit rich for Bicycle Network to take the credit for creating Australia's road racing superstars, we do know that the fun, inclusive and friendly community vibe on the Great Vic helps people discover the joy of bike riding.
In its 35 years of history, the Great Vic may have helped spawn the careers of some pro riders, but it has started life-long love affairs with two wheels for thousands more.
The greatest Great Vic ever
This year we’re gearing up for the greatest Great Vic ever, riding from Robe in South Australia to Torquay on the Great Ocean Road.
Thousands of riders will be joining the event, from primary school students like Sarah Gigante back in 2006 to seasoned riders who come back every year.
If you’d like to join the greatest Great Vic ever in 2019 and ride the 652 kilometres from Robe to Torquay along the Limestone Coast and Great Ocean Road you can register your interest now and we will get in touch when entries open in May.
This is not one to be missed. Plus, you never know you could be riding with Australia's next national champion or Olympic medallist.