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Stars of women's professional cycling head to Geelong


Geelong will welcome five of the world's top ten ranked women's road cyclists for this month's opening round of the UCI Women's Road Cycling World Cup being staged in Geelong on Sunday 24 February. This is the sixth time the Series has kicked off in the Victorian city and 2008 promises to again showcase the outstanding talent in the women's professional ranks.

World ranked number three and 2004 World Champion, Judith Arndt, will lead the charge for Team High Road that also boasts newly crowned Australian road race Champion, Oenone Wood (ranked 8) and 2006 Geelong World Cup winner Ina Teutenberg (ranked 10). Ranked number six in the world Lithuania's Edita Pucinskaite, (Equipe Nurnberger Versicherung) comes into the event on the back of a 2007 season that saw her win the women's Giro d'Italia for the second straight year. Sweden's Susanne Ljungskog, (Menikini - Selle Italia) is a two time World Champion (2002 & 2003) who returns to Geelong for the fifth year running. Ljungskog last year won the Tour de l'Aude in France.

The stellar line up of talent also includes reigning Olympic Champion, Sara Carrigan, who will race in the Lotto-Belisol Ladies Team with 1992 Olympic Champion, Kathryn Watt. 2006 time trial World Champion and three time US Champion, Kristin Armstrong and 2005 time trial World Champion, Karin Thurig, from Switzerland will line up for the Cervelo-Lifeforce team.

Webcor Builders Team is sending a champion line up of American and Canadian riders including Canada's reigning road and time trial Champion, Gina Grain, 2006 dual Canadian Champion, Alex Wrubleski and 2006 World Championship bronze medallist, American Christine Thorburn.

Australia will be well represented with a national team and five regional teams entered boasting the likes of 2006 Australian road Champion, Katie Mactier, 2007 triple Junior World Champion, Josephine Tomic and 2007 Australian time trial Champion, Bridie O'Donnell.

The Geelong World Cup will get underway at 10.30am. The peloton will contest eight laps of a tough15km circuit for a total race distance of 120 kilometres. The race will head out along the picturesque Geelong Waterfront before heading west of the City of Greater Geelong that provides spectacular scenery for the fans but no rest for the riders.

The World Cup is the feature event in the Wheels on Waterfront Geelong festival of sport and family activities incorporating the Geelong World Cup Challenge where enthusiasts can test themselves over an 80km course and the FREE Geelong Advertiser Family Fun Ride that provides an opportunity for the whole family to ride a lap of the World Cup course.

The race action will be shown live on a big screen with on-course commentary. Free family fun will be available in Steampacket Gardens including jumping castles, face painting plus games and activities with the Australian Sports Commission's Active After School crew.

The world class field will be in action prior to the World Cup in the three stage Geelong Tour. The Tour will begin with an 8km time trial at Portarlington on Thursday 21 February followed by a 75km road circuit race later the same day. On Friday 22 February the Tour moves to Barwon Heads for the 90km final stage.

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