Giro Della Donna set to take off

The Giro Della Donna is set to fly through the Upper Yarra. Picture: ON FILE

By Callum Ludwig

The Giro Della Donna in Warburton is set to take off this weekend, with the Piccolo Giro and Gravel Giro on Saturday 2 April and the grand Giro Della Donna on Sunday 3 April.

The event is opened by a Friday 1 April night 3-course dinner and drinks event, the Serata Coppi, at Projekt 3488 in Warburton for only 80 guests. Tickets are priced at $149, and attendees will be joined by a special guest; recently-retired professional cyclist Mitch Docker.

Cyclist entry on Saturday and Sunday is available for $219 online or $229 at the event, or a combo package with the Gravel Giro can be purchased at $319 for online entry or $339 for standard.

Event manager Michael Hands has been steering the ship as organisers prepared for the event, and said the Warburton area provides a unique experience for riders.

“Almost all of the course is through beautiful, stunning, quiet forested roads, it’s got to be the most picturesque mass-participation ride course in the country,” he said.

“It also appeals to riders looking for a bit of a challenge, a bit harder than just a flat ride, with the two big climbs up Reefton Spur towards Lake Mountain and then the Acheron Way gravel section and whole narrow road through the forest and over the Great Dividing Range.”

Event Village and Registration / Check-In will open at 9.30am before a rider briefing at 11:45am and the ride start at 12pm on Saturday, with music, face-painting, food and drink, plus a few surprises, all on offer on the day courtesy of CIRE and Yarra Junction residents and roving judges will be picking out the best-dressed bikes (and riders) for prizes.

The weather is looking poorly for the weekend, but Mr Hands said there are contingency plans in place.

“Riders have a saying: there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing. The riders have got a range of clothing jackets, gilets and vests to keep them a lot warmer,” he said.

“We have a mobile medical team that works on the event as well, trained for different conditions to deal with anyone who’s suffering from the cold, and we do have contingency plans as well, if the weather turns really foul we might not be able to finish on top of Mt Donna Buang but continue down from Acheron Way back into Warburton.”

The 125km Giro della Donna itself starts at 8am and riders will glide through temperate rainforest and towering trees before reaching a pit stop in Marysville, before the challenging incline over 8km to the summit of Mt Donna Buang and a 20km descent. Riders must pass under the CYCLING TIPS Arch, back at the Event Village to avoid a DNF (Did Not Finish) being issued.

Mr Hands is glad the opportunity for riders to travel out to areas like Warburton is back.

“We’re all deliriously happy to be able to travel again, so we just hope that all the people who come to town for the event enjoy it,” he said

“Then hopefully they come back outside of the event as well, become regulars and help sustain and grow the businesses and let them prosper.”

The event is working with traffic management service, as well as local authorities and emergency services to manage the event. Thomas Avenue will be closed at both ends for the entire weekend except for event traffic, and there will also be the following closures;

Saturday 2 April

Burns Rd/ Smythes Cr Rd at Big Pats Rd to Big Creek Rd, both ways 11.15am – 1.30pm

Mt Bride Rd at Blacksands Rd to Old Warburton Rd, both ways 12pm 3.30pm

Old Warburton Rd at Mount Bride intersection, both ways 1pm Stop and Hold only – 4pm

WarburtonHighway at Rail trail, both ways 12pm Stop & Hold only – 4.15 pm

Sunday 3 April

Warburton Hwy at Thomas Ave to Donna Buang Rd, both ways 7.50am – 8.45am

Woods Point Rd at Donna Buang Rd to Reefton (at Upper Yarra Dam Rd) eastbound, speed

reduction and pull over for cyclists westbound 7.30am – 9.30 am

Woods Point Rd at Upper Yarra Dam Rd Reefton to Cumberland Junction, both ways 7.30am- 11am

Marysville Woods Point Rd at Cumberland Junction (Warburton-Woods Point Rd) Local access only, 8.30am – 11.30 am

Buxton – Marysville Rd and Woods Point Marysville Rd Roundabout Stop and hold for cyclists at

roundabout to turn left, 9.30am – 11.30am

Marysville Rd Buxton-Marysville Rd to Acheron Way Speed reductions to 60kph, caution signs, expect delays, 8.30am – 12.30pm

Acheron Way at Marysville Rd to Donna Buang Both ways 8am – 2pm

Donna Buang Rd at Woods Point Rd to Cement Creek Rd Local access only, closed at Cement Creek Rd, 9am – 3pm

Donna Buang Rd at Acheron Way to Don Rd both ways, 9am – 3pm

Mt Donna Buang Summit Rd at Donna Buang Rd to summit both ways, 8am – 4pm