For the second year running, the Wiggle Amy’s Gran Fondo will open the UWCT season, giving amateur road riders their first chance to qualify for the Final and race for the rainbow jersey. On September 14th, more than 5000 competitors will set of from Lorne, Victoria, and ride along a fully closed Great Ocean Road to Apollo Bay then through the Otway Ranges back to Lorne. The top 25% of finishers in each age group will qualify for the Final which will take place in Aalborg and Hobro, Denmark, in September 2015.

A new feature of this year’s opening event Down Under is the inaugural Amy’s Otway Classic for Australia’s top women professional and semi-professional cyclists. They will race 110km from Lorne to Benwerrin, setting off one hour before the mass start for amateur riders.

Amy’s Gran Fondo is staged by the Amy Gillett Foundation in memory of Australian cycling team member Amy Gillett who tragically lost her life after being hit by a car during a training ride in Germany in 2005.

UCI Vice President Tracey Gaudry is CEO of the Amy Gillett Foundation. She said the weekend of racing was the pinnacle event in the Foundation’s annual calendar and the perfect way to kick off the 2015 UCI World Cycling Tour. Emphasis is placed on safety, and bike skill courses and educational programmes have been held for school children across the region.

“This event has all the ingredients from the Amy Gillett Foundation’s DNA,” she said. “It is a once-a-year opportunity to ride the fully closed Great Ocean Road, and the first opportunity for participants to qualify for the UWCT Final in Denmark next year.”

As well as the 110km qualifier race, two other rides are organised for less ambitious cyclists: a 40km Medio Fondo and the 14km Piccolo Fondo for families. All proceeds and fundraising associated with the event will go to cycling safety research, advocacy and educational campaigns and programmes.

The second event on the 2015 UWCT calendar is the Tsogo Sun Amashova Durban Classic in South Africa on October 12th. The remainder of the series will take place between March and September next year.

The full 2015 UWCT calendar will be published after the 2015 UCI Road World Championships, which take place in Ponferrada, Spain, at the end of this month.