Festival Of Sails

International Cycling Stars Hit The Water in Sailing ‘Pro Am Challenge’ for 2024 Festival of Sails

Some of the world’s elite cyclists competing in the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race will be swapping bikes for boats as they head for the waters of Corio Bay tomorrow (Tuesday, January 23) for a ‘Pro-Am Challenge’.


Six elite athletes from the France-based team ‘Arkea – B&B Hotels’ and the Kazakhstan-backed team of ‘Astana Qazaqstan’six will join forces with some of Geelong’s elite sailors competing in the Festival of Sails in a series of twilight races, celebrating Geelong’s mega long weekend hosting the two major events.


In what’s becoming an annual tradition, the teams will set sail from Wangim Walk around 5pm for a series of races set over a number of short courses raising funds for local Geelong charity, Geelong Connected Communities.


And alongside the official racers taking to the water to battle it out will be 30 teammates and event supporters, enjoying a ‘social sail’ courtesy of Royal Geelong Yacht Club members.


Festival of Sails Chairman Paul Buchholz says while the competition is a fun celebration of the two events, there will definitely be some friendly rivalry under racing conditions.


“We’re all competitors out there and whether it’s on a yacht or a bike, sometimes you just can’t help but want to win!” he says. “But being the gracious hosts that we are, we might give the cyclists just one or two helpful hints!”


The Festival of Sails and the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race are two of Geelong’s hallmark major events with both set to ignite the Geelong waterfront, across the January 26 long weekend.


The iconic Passage Race from Melbourne to Geelong marks the opening of the largest keelboat sailing regatta in the Southern Hemisphere on Friday, January 26, while all the action of the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race gets underway with the Surf Coast Classic on Thursday, January 25.


The 2024 Melbourne to Geelong Passage Race will celebrate its 181st anniversary in 2024, with the three-day regatta usually attracting more than 250 yachts and over 2000 participants to Geelong’s Corio Bay from around the world each year.  


While the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race – named after Australia’s most decorated competitive cyclist, Cadel Evans – attracts elite male and female cyclists from around the globe to the fierce competition in world recognised racing events, along with thousands of enthusiastic amateurs keen to ride the same routes as their cycling heroes.


Both events are proudly supported by the Victorian Government and the City of Greater Geelong.