Recently crowned Australian Champion Oenone Wood, is eager to impress when the 2008 Geelong Women’s Tour gets underway tomorrow in Portarlington ahead of Sunday’s opening round of the UCI Women’s Road World Cup in Geelong.

The two time World Cup Series Champion headed to Skilled Stadium today along with fellow professional riders, 2003 Australian Champion, Olivia Gollan, 2005 Geelong World Cup winner, Rochelle Gilmore, 2006 Commonwealth Games Champion, Natalie Bates and Australian National Team member, Peta Mullens to catch up with Cameron Mooney and Corey Enright from the Geelong Cats, the reigning AFL premiers and compare notes on winning.

Wood, who races with Team High Road, believes her win in last month’s Australian Open Road Championships in Ballarat has given her a crucial edge in the lead up to the Beijing Olympic Games in August.

“I am proud to wear the national jersey going into an Olympic year,” said Wood, who raced in the 2004 Olympic Games and is aiming for selection in this year’s team.

“It gives me that extra little bit of confidence just to know that I already have a good win under my belt and lots more opportunities this year,” she added. Wood has a record of performing well in Geelong with three overall wins in the Geelong Tour and victory in the 2004 Geelong World Cup.

Wood will line up with distinguished team mates including world ranked number three and 2004 World Champion, Judith Arndt and 2006 Geelong World Cup winner Ina Teutenberg (ranked 10). Wood says she is excited by the potential of her team.

“The team has just come back from our camp in California, which was really successful, and this year, we have so many strong riders and everyone is really motivated and looking towards a great season,” Wood said.

The events will also feature reigning Olympic Champion, Sara Carrigan (Lotto-Belisol), world ranked number six, Lithuania’s Edita Pucinskaite, (Equipe Nurnberger Versicherung), two time World Champion, Sweden’s Susanne Ljungskog, (Menikini – Selle Italia), 2006 time trial World Champion, Kristin Armstrong and her Cervelo-Lifeforce team mate and 2005 time trial World Champion, Karin Thurig, from Switzerland.

The Geelong Tour gets underway with an 8km time trial at Portarlington followed by a 75km road circuit race later in the day. On Friday, the Tour moves to Barwon Heads for the 90km final stage.

The Geelong World Cup will start on Waterfront Geelong at 10.30am on Sunday February 24. 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.

For further information about the Geelong World Cup, entry list and to apply for media accreditation for the event please visit www.geelongworldcup.com


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