Defending champion Kurt Eather will use Saturday's Keegan Downes Memorial Sundowner Handicap Cycling Classic as a hit out before he heads overseas.
Originally from Gunnedah, the now-star Dubbo cyclist outsprinted five other riders last year to record a memorable win in the 110 kilometre trek through hilly terrain from Coonabarabran to Gunnedah.
"He virtually finishes the race here and he's flying over to Belgium to compete in an international series," race committeeman Garry Turner said.
Eather, who in April won the points race at the Elite and Under-19 Track Cycling Championships, will be one of 19 scratch riders in what is a quality field of 120.
"We're very happy with the field," Turner said.
"The scratch group has some really good riders."
He highlighted the likes of Armidale mountain bike star Michael Harris, Inverell's Brent Rees, Tom Bolton (Dulwich Hill), Oliver Murray (Canberra), last year's Gunnedah to Tamworth winner Sam Hill and Glenn Mathiske (Manning Valley).
The field has been split into 10 groups. They will depart at staggered times, from 10am, with the front group getting a 45-minute head start on the scratch riders.
Hosted by the Gunnedah Cycling and Triathlon Club, the race starts at Crane Street in Coonabarabran and will finish on Blackjack Lane in front of the AgQuip site.
As well as overall and divisional winners for under-19s through to masters, there will also be a King of the Mountain and a sprint, which will finish in the middle of Mullaley.
Describing the course, Turner said from Coonabarabran to Mullaley it is "very hilly and undulating".
"From Mullaley there's about four little steep quick up and down hills," he said.
The local club will be well-represented with Turner, Scott Dunlop, Paul Foster, Anthony Martin, Sophie King, Alistair Christie, Ross Durham, Terry Roach Lauren Robertson, Benjamin Thompson and Tim Duffy all suiting up in the annual race.
Turner said they have all been training hard for it.
Several of them competed in the Bobbin Head Cycle Classic in March and the Pedal the Peel in April, which were good lead-up events for the Sundowner, he said.
He added that the club are appreciative of the support of Whitehaven Coal and Hitachi Industries.
The Gunnedah to Tamworth race will follow on Sunday.
With the entries this year open until 8am on the day of the race, Turner said a few of the Gunnedah contingent "are going to see how we pull up after Saturday".