After a one year absence, the Melbourne to Warrnambool is back for 2019. The “Warny”, as it is known within the inner cycling circles is the second oldest one day race in the world, and the longest in the southern hemisphere at 262 kilometres.
This year, InForm TM Insight MAKE will have the winner of the last two editions of the Warny in Nathan Elliott on their side, along with defending National Road Series champion Raphael Freienstein. An all-star cast for the first battle of the NRS for 2019.
Starting at Avalon Airport, the riders will make their way towards Geelong, before passing through Colac. From here, the peloton will make tracks for the coastal town of Port Campbell. If crosswinds play a roll, then it’s here along the coast where the wind could slice the group to bits. Crosswinds after the best part of 200 kilometres, it’s a hard man’s dream scenario. For the final stages, the riders make their way from Peterborough to Warrnambool for the final showdown.
A man who knows what it takes to win the Warny is Nathan Elliott, he has won solo here twice, and is a rider who has made a habit of winning on the grippy days.
“I think obviously, you need good endurance to win, which I’m lucky that it’s something that comes naturally to me. My power doesn’t really drop off that much after six hours so that helps a lot,” Elliott said.
“The main thing I took away from my 2017 win was a fair bit of confidence knowing that after being in the break for 220 kilometres and getting caught, I still had enough to ride away at the end. Also with that, just never giving up, especially in a race this long.”
The new InForm TM Insight MAKE recruit is proud of his feats, and often looks back on his Warny wins with pride.
“It sounds corny but yeah I think about it (winning the Warny) all the time. On the bike training and off the bike. It’s something that I’m proud of, it means a lot to me and makes me happy any time I relive the race in my mind and crossing the line.”
When asked if he targeting then win on Saturday to make it back to back to back, Elliott responded,
“Of course, I’m targeting it,” with a grin on his face.
2018 NRS winner Raphael Freienstein will be getting his defence underway on Saturday coming off the back of a low-key summer of racing. He is motivated for the year and as always, has the team’s ambitions at the top of his checklist.
“I'm excited to be back at the NRS, especially starting with a big one day race. I guess our biggest hopes are with Nathan for Saturday and it would insane if we could make the triple happen. I'm fully committed to team tactics and will do everything needed to get the job done,” Freienstein said.
Team Director Pat Lane, who is flat not to be pinning the numbers on this Saturday will have to settle for calling the shots from the team car. As a rider, Lane has fought out the finale of the Warny in the past and is the perfect man to be pulling the strings from behind the scenes.
“The guys are all hungry and always want to win, they put a lot more pressure on themselves then we put on them. I think we have the two best riders in the race and I know I’d rather have Nathan & Raphael on the team than be trying to work out how to beat them,” Lane said.
He also hasn’t ruled out giving license to some of the younger riders in squad to put their keys in the bowl for the finale on Saturday afternoon.
“Given most teams will race negatively against Nathan and Raphael, we might even see one of our younger riders step up, I wouldn’t lock them into a support role just yet. I have a lot of faith in the ability of the whole team to get the job done.”
The race starts at 7.30am with the final stages to be streamed live on Facebook.
The InForm TM Insight MAKE team sheet for the 2019 Melbourne to Warrnambool is:
Will Moloney- Morton