The Naracoorte leg of the 2019 Tour of the Great South Coast is now just hours away.
As part of a six-day event, a field of over 100 professional riders will tackle a spectacular "criterium" around Naracoorte's main streets on Thursday morning, before taking to the open road in the afternoon for a teams time trial to the Naracoorte Caves.
Naracoorte's main CBD streets will be closed for the event and some other key roads will also have closures.
The criterium will start at 11am Thursday and finish about 11.40am, while the afternoon teams trial will start at 2pm.
South Australian Jarrad Drizners, 20, is one high profile rider looking forward to the eighth instalment of the tour, which is coming to Naracoorte for the first time.
Adelaide-based Drizners has this year won the Australian Under-23 criterium championship (defeating world teams pursuit stars Kelland O'Brien and Cameron Scott); been a member of the bronze medal-winning Australian team pursuit line-up at the Hong Kong World Cup; and won a race during a 14-race venture to Belgium.
He has been racing against some top riders, some of whom are also coming to Naracoorte.
"They are some of the very best, the elite," he said. "Sam Welsford has won an individual scratch race gold medal at the world championships as well as being a member of the gold medal pursuit team, and you can add Alex Porter and O'Brien in that team.
"They won the gold at last year's Commonwealth Games and then lowered their record time to an astonishing 3mins 48sec to win the world championship in Poland.
"They will be at this tour and that is really exciting. The best way to improve is to compete against the best like them, to challenge yourself and push it to the limit.
"Knowing no South Australian has ever won the Tour of the Great South Coast is extra motivation for me."
Drizners described the Great South Coast tour as "a great event."
"It provides excellent variety," he said. "There are crits and climbs and the new teams time trial at Naracoorte. You are challenged every one of the six days of this event, which is a great pathway to the track events coming up. It is recognised as one of the great strength-building events that prepares you for the rest of the season.
"When you look ahead, there are the Oceania Championships, the World Cup in New Zealand later this year, and, of course, the Tokyo Olympics next year. This tour is one of the important steps along the way if you are serious about those major international events," he said.
Drizners hopes to improve on last year's fourth placing at the opening race of the 541km, eight-stage tour when riders take-off from Mount Gambier's Vansittart Park at 10.45am on Tuesday, August 27.
The two Naracoorte legs of the ride will take place on Thursday, August 29 and road closures will be in place, including around the CBD.
Founded in 2012, the eighth Tour of the Great South Coast is backed by the Victorian State Government and four municipalities - the City of Mount Gambier, District Council of Grant and Naracoorte Lucindale Council, and Victoria's Glenelg Shire Council.