The Aussie Monument - Melbourne to Warrnambool
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Life in the Peloton is proudly brought to you by MAAP The Melbourne to Warrnambool is a race like no other. It may not get a huge press outside of Australia, but the 129-year-old event truly is an iconic race. Starting off as a handicap back in 1895 the race route has never included any major climbs, instead it is a race that is shaped by its brutal length and frequent crosswinds. In years gone by it was the biggest race of the year for generations of domestic Australian professionals, in recent years it has been a direct stepping-stone to the professional world for riders like Cam Scott and Jensen Plowright.  In this edition of Life in the Peloton we get stuck in to all the things that make this great race so special. I tracked down and spoke to some absolute legends of the race; Tim Decker, Peter ‘Bulldog’ Besanko and Simon Gerrans.  There was so much great stuff that came out of what these three very different riders had to say about the race. We covered some of Bulldog’s wild stories from a much different era in the handicap events in the seventies and eighties – when the riders used to do the three hundred kilometres on three (yes three) bidons!  Tim explained how he was probably the last of a generation of riders who used to prepare specifically for the event, and what the race meant to him. While Gerro – who turned pro off the back of beating some top Euro pros at the race in the early 2000s explains what an impact winning the race can have even now.  But that isn’t all! Not content with never having done the race myself, I managed to get ‘hands on’ in this year’s edition behind the wheel of a team car as DS for Team Duda, a local Melbourne outfit.  It was a great day out in the team car (my first one behind the wheel!) and it finally gave me a great taste of what this race really is about.   The passion and the history of this race really comes across from everyone I spoke to for this pod, and I just love some of the stories that came out. It really is epic stuff. It may not be a Monument in the context of the big five European Classics, but I think that it is a race that has earned the title: The Aussie Monument.
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