When cyclists form a political party aiming to get into Parliament at all costs, where else should they draw inspiration but the greatest bike race, the Tour de France? Australian Cyclists Party strategist Richard Bowen says the principle is the same in politics -- you can't win Le Tour in the first stages but you can lose it early on. Bowen, who is the Cyclists' lead candidate for one of five upper house seats in the Southern Metropolitan region for the November 29 Victorian election, says if they don't get their preferences right, it could all go wrong.

The Victorian Electoral Commission deadline for group voting tickets came down at noon yesterday, and a few hours later the results of weeks of wheeling and dealing between first-timer cyclists and veterans in the major parties were revealed. This election has a record 21 parties running 351 candidates for 40 seats in Victoria's Legislative Council -- 133 group voting tickets were lodged with the VEC. Early voting opens tomorrow, and ballots have been released ahead of the election, officially held on November 29 -- 12 days away.