Melbourne’s world-famous Formula One Grand Prix track will host a new cycling race on January 26 as part of the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race.

The criterium, known as Towards Zero Race Melbourne, will feature a host of elite men and women’s teams also competing in Evans’ event which takes place in and around Geelong on January 28 and 29.

Spectators will be able to see a host of top riders - including Tour de France champion Chris Froome - at close quarters from the picturesque Albert Park in the heart of Melbourne, with the women making 12 laps of the circuit (63.6km), while the men will go round 22 times in total (116.6km).

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The crit will be sponsored by the Transport Accident Commission to shine a light on the importance of road safety.

Parliamentary Secretary Danielle Green said: “We said we’d keep growing the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race and that’s exactly what we’re doing. Today’s announcement is more proof this is fast becoming one of Australia’s favourite cycling events.

“Victoria is the cycling capital of Australia. We’re not just the leader for the biggest and best events, we have the circuits and tracks other states can only dream of.

“Race Melbourne gives Melburnians a chance to experience for themselves the best of everything this great major event offers.”

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Peta Mullens, 2015 Australian National Road Race and Mountain Bike Champion, is also excited to be able to take part in the new event.

She will be riding in her third GORR for the Hagens Berman Supermint team and said: “The Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race is already a fantastic event. Being from Bendigo, Towards Zero Race Melbourne, gives me another chance to race on home soil and showcase my home state to my overseas team-mates.”

The women's criterium race around Albert Park is scheduled to start at 9.30am, with the men's event getting underway at 12.30pm.