Northern Suburbs 3-Day Tour
Matthew Keenan
Winner 1999 Northern Suburbs 3-Day Tour

For as long as I’ve been involved in cycling the Queen’s birthday long weekend has meant the Northern Suburbs 3-Day Tour.

As a junior with dreams of cycling stardom the 3-Day Tour was the perfect opportunity to pretend to be a tour rider. It was also an opportunity to be part of a proud Australian cycling tradition.

When I was embarking on my first 3-Day Tour, as a 16-year-old in 1991, I took great pleasure in picking through the names of former winners and asking those in the know about their history, what they went on to do, how good they really were.

Throughout the 1970s the honour roll was dominated by the Sansonetti brothers, Remo and Sal, who between them owned the perpetual trophy for almost 10-years.
Both were Olympic and Commonwealth Games representatives for Australia throughout their long careers.
But as a wide-eyed junior the name that attracted most of my attention was Michael Wilson.

Wilson was the first Australian to win a stage (1982) and finish in the top-10 (8th in 1985) at the Giro d’Italia and seeing him among the former winners gave the race real prestige in my young eyes.

But the honour roll for the men’s A-grade race doesn’t tell the whole story.

Olympic gold medalist and multiple Tour de France rider, Luke Roberts, isn’t on the honour roll of the senior event but won the under-17 race in 1992. His class was evident from a very early age.

In 1997 dual women’s world cup winner, Anna Wilson, raced among the men in A-grade. Wilson didn’t quite upstage the men but she did show them a thing or two about riding as a team when she combined with her Melton Cycling Club teammates to support Brad Davies to victory.

Yet from the names that have graced the start list one name that is missing from the honour roll stands apart from all others because of what he has gone onto achieve.

As a young Northcote Cycling Club member Cadel Evans rode the Northern Suburbs 3-Day Tour as one of his early forays into road racing.

If only it was that simple. But as evidence of how important these sorts of races are to Australian cycling, you only have to look at others who have won this humble northern suburbs club race and gone onto pro contracts.

Evans is now a household name as the first Australian to win the elite men’s road race at the UCI Road World Championships and twice finish second in the Tour de France.

Although Evans didn’t win the 3-Day Tour he did learn a lot in his first multi-stage road race. Everyone has to start somewhere and there couldn’t be a better place.

Contact Details

For sponsorship and volunteer enquires:
Name: Luke McDonough