BAIRNSDALE cyclist Will Anderson is the Gippsland road champion.
A good field of riders arrived in Heyfield to contest the event in ideal conditions.
The categories contested were open, women, 40 to 49 years and over 50 years.
The open event featured most contenders for the three-day tour next week, and the fireworks began early.
As they headed towards Glenmaggie on the first of three laps, the young riders from Leongatha and Warragul were intent on breaking up the field. However perennial breakaway veteran Chris Joustra (Latrobe) managed to forge a gap and was immediately joined by Anderson.
Joustra and Anderson got down to business of making the break work. Brett Rollinson (Warragul) managed to get away, but was unable to bridge the gap to the pair.
In the end Anderson sprinted much better than Joustra to win the title, with Rollinson hanging on narrowly for third.
The 40 to 49 group rode with the open riders finishing in among them. Peter McDonald (Warragul) won from Phil Lutz (Bairnsdale) and Darren Spiteri (Latrobe) third.
The over 50s and women raced two laps, and as they got to the hill the first time it was on for young and old. Jim Timmer-Arrends (Latrobe) showed his climbing prowess riding away from the rest.
Timmer-Arrends was never caught despite the best efforts of the bunch behind.
The sprint finish saw Rob Monk (Warragul) second and Peter McLean (Leongatha) third. First woman was Sharon Blegg (Bairnsdale).
Saturday will be the first stage of the three-day tour at Lindenow, starting at 1pm.
The course which some have raced on already this year will go around Glenaladale, Fingerboards and Walpa a number of times before finishing on top of Rodericks Rd with a very steep ascent similar to finishes in Europe.
Sunday’s racing will be at Boolarra and Monday at Darnum.