Champions hungry for more green and gold
Six current and former champions including Amanda Spratt, Shara Gillow, Ruth Corset, Lauren Kitchen, Bridie O’Donnell and Carla Ryan, will hit the start line from January 9, with reigning road and time trial champions Spratt and Gillow’s focus set squarely on defending their crowns.
Penrith’s Spratt is aiming for a repeat of performance in the 2012 road race which saw her clinch her first green and gold jersey following a daring solo attack inside the final 30 kilometres.
It completed a clean sweep of the 2012 Nationals for the ORICA-AIS team following Gillow’s victory and Alexis Rhodes triumph in the criterium.
But while a strong performance is again expected from the ORICA-AIS team in 2013, Spratt believes the quality of riders in the Championships will make it tough for all.
“I will feel a little bit of extra pressure in 2013, as there are certainly a lot of contenders who are out to win it,” said the 25-year-old.
“I will be looking at Rachel Neylan in the road race, she will be one to watch as far as I am concerned.
“The VIS, SASI and some other teams will have a number of riders and I think you can’t discount any of those riders either as the National Road Series has done really well this year in progressing and developing women’s racing,” added Spratt.
Despite Spratt’s main focus remaining on the road race on Saturday January 12, the London Olympian has entered all three women’s events and has welcomed recently announced time trial and road race course changes.
“The road race certainly won’t be a one horse race by any means,” predicted Spratt.
“The changes in the road race will open it up to a few more riders and makes it a lot more tactical and to finish with five laps on the Mt Buninyong circuit it will be a really tough race.
“Also, Lake Wendouree and closed roads for the new time trial is great, although we won’t be appreciate the scenery too much I don’t think,” laughed Spratt, who finished fourth in the time trial in 2012.
Queensland’s Gillow will be gunning to become the first female since Kathy Watt (1992-94) to claim three consecutive time trial national crowns.
Australia’s only rider to contest both the time trial and the road race at the London 2012 Games, Gillow will ride all three events beginning with the time trial on the opening day of the Championships on Wednesday January 9.
Fellow Queenslander Ruth Corset will line up in the time trial and road race, with 2010 national road champion looking to continue her strong 2012 form which saw her claim the individual crown in the Subaru National Road Series.
“My main focus is mainly the road race, but if I do well in the time trial also, it will be a bonus,” explained Corset.
“Although I expect the women’s field will be strongly contested this year as there will be a number of tough teams racing and strong individuals who will be wanting the win such as Carla Ryan, Carlee Taylor and Rachel Neylan to name a few,” added Corset.
2011 national criterium champion Lauren Kitchen will be looking for a solid start to the new cycling season when she suits up in her new 2013 team, DTPC Honda Pro Cycling.
“I’m really looking to perform well in the road race and give myself the best opportunity for a good result,” said the 22-year-old from northern New South Wales, who finished sixth in the criterium in 2012.
“I will indeed be looking for a strong result in the criterium and would love to shake up the ORICA-AIS domination we saw last year.
“I think ORICA-AIS will be very strong and also the biggest team, but they have all the pressure that accompanies that and I will be hoping to use that to my advantage in both the national races” said Kitchen.
Queensland’s Carla Ryan, the last rider to claim two crowns at one Championship after her stunning victories in the road race and time trial in 2009, will contest the road race.
2008 time trial champion Bridie O’Donnell has entered the road race and time trial.
The 2013 MARS Cycling Australia Road National Championships will be held in Ballarat and Buninyong from Wednesday 9 to Sunday 13 January 2013.
Women’s Racing Schedule:
· Wednesday, 9 January –Lake Wendouree, Ballarat 12:00pm: Elite & U23 Women’s Time Trial (29.2kms)
· Thursday, 10 January – Sturt Street, Ballarat 5:45pm: Elite & U23 Women’s Criterium. (30 laps, 33kms)
· Saturday 12 January Geelong Rd, Buninyong 1:30pm: Elite & U23 Women’s Road Race (106.6km)