This year's Grafton to Inverell winner Will Hodges and hot young prospect Kurt Eather are among the leading contenders for Sunday's Gunnedah to Tamworth Grades Scratch Races.
Bathurst-based Hodges beat Inverell's Dylan Sunderland, in a sprint finish, to claim the Grafton to Inverell last month.
Eather, a former Australian under-17 road race champion, will be hoping for better luck in this year's Gunnedah to Tamworth - after he crashed out of last year's race.
He went into the event having won the Keegan Downes Memorial Sundowner Handicap Cycling Classic - a 110-kilometre race from Coonabarabran to Gunnedah - the previous day.
He will compete in the Sundowner on Saturday, as will Hodges.
Tamworth Cycle Club hosts the 105km Gunnedah to Tamworth.
When asked if Hodges was the favourite, TCC president Daniel Nash said: "It's hard to tell, because it's hard to really know exactly what kind of course Gunnedah to Tamworth will be [in terms of wind]."
He said he did not know if the course suited Hodges, who obviously relished the much longer and hillier Grafton to Inverell course
He added: "But as far as I can tell from Cycling NSW, Will Hodges is the guy to beat."
Nash said Cycling NSW also rated Sydney's Tom Bolton a good chance after he finished second in last year's race.
"And then I think they're quite interested to see how under-19 Kurt Eather can go," he added.
Nash also nominated Luke Cridland, of the St George Cycling Club, as one to watch.
"He's been in pretty good form," Nash said.
The Scone-raised defending champion, Sam Hill, is overseas and will not defend his division one title.
Nash said there were 160 entries in this year's event across five grades - comparable to the past two years.
The leading women's division is division three, with Nash naming Dubbo rider Simone Grounds - a "multi-discipline masters champion" - as a leading contender.
"I think she's expected to go quite well," he said.
Melanie Breaden, of Hunter District Cycling Club, is a leading contender in division four.
Nash said the top Tamworth riders included Fraser Ashford (division two), Rob Wright (division three), Scott Thompson (division four) Simone Church (division four), Pip Ash and Katrina Ashford (both division five).