In action at Grafton to Inverell: Copyright Bruce Wilson/Veloshotz

The Port of Portland will link with the Glenelg Shire to deliver a substantial share of the 2017 Tour of the Great South Coast road cycling classic to the Glenelg municipality.

The final three days of the five-day tour, to be raced from July 26-30, will be conducted in the Glenelg region, taking in Heywood, Casterton, Cape Bridgewater and Portland.

The Port of Portland will join long-term supporter, the burgeoning Australasian construction company Fulton Hogan, as joint naming rights sponsor of the event, which was founded in 2012 and is now recognised as the most challenging and respected tour on Cycling Australia’s Subaru National Road Series calendar.

The Port of Portland’s entry into the 500-kilometre six-stage race was announced by the company’s chief executive officer Jim Cooper.

“The Port of Portland is very pleased to be supporting the 2017 Tour of the Great South Coast,” Mr. Cooper said.

“This major event, with its extensive television coverage, will showcase the picturesque and diverse landscape of the Glenelg Shire from the hinterland of Casterton to the stunning coastline of Bridgewater and Portland.

“Port of Portland is looking forward to partnering with the tour to deliver a world class cycling event for the competitors and the community.”

Mr. Cooper’s enthusiasm was backed by the Glenelg Shire Mayor Anita Rank who played a key role in extending the municipality’s participation in the tour to three days.

“Glenelg Shire Council is again proud to support this iconic cross-border event,” Cr. Rank said.

“We look forward to welcoming a talented field of world-class cyclists who will test their abilities across four amazing locations, including the rolling hills of Casterton, the rural landscape surrounding Heywood, the majestic rugged coastline of Cape Bridgewater, and the fast-paced final Portland CBD street circuit for the sprint finish.”

Cr. Rank said the tour, which has been backed by the Glenelg Shire at various levels since its inception, provided the region with national media profile.

“It is a spectacle not to be missed and one that will put our region on the national sporting map,” she said.

Fulton Hogan’s Southern Region construction general manager Domenic De-Fazio welcomed the Port of Portland’s involvement in the tour.

“We at Fulton Hogan regard this event very highly,” he said. “It brings world class cyclists to rural areas and reaches out to a whole range of appreciative communities.”

Cycling Victoria’s chief executive officer Kipp Kaufmann said the national bike racing fraternity was thrilled that the Port of Portland and Fulton Hogan had joined forces to ensure upper-level major sponsorship stability for one of Australia’s most important cycling events.

“It’s also wonderful that the Glenelg Shire Council has embraced the event so enthusiastically,” he said.

“The Glenelg region contains some incredibly beautiful cycling courses, not just for racing cyclists but also for recreational riders.

“This up-coming Great South Coast Tour is shaping as a great one.”

The sixth Tour of the Great South Coast is scheduled to start in Mount Gambier on Wednesday, July 26, with the traditional 36km criterium in Vansittart Park, followed by an afternoon 65km Blue Lake circuit race. (Overall course outline attached).

The action will move to the lobster capital of Port MacDonnell on Thursday, July 27 when the event’s longest stage of 137.6kms will be featured.

The tour’s opening two days in South Australia are backed by the City of Mount Gambier and the District Council of Grant.

The Glenelg Shire will host three spectacular stages – Heywood to Casterton on Friday, July 28, the 121.4km Cape Bridgewater road race on the 29th, and the grand finale waterfront criterium in Portland on Sunday, July 30.