Team BikeExchange head to the Australian championships next week with a strong presence in Buninyong as the squad takes on the time trial, criterium and road race events.
Former TT champion Grace Brown will look to regain her 2019 crown against the clock on Wednesday after finishing runner-up last season. The 28-year-old will also ride Sunday’s road race as she looks to add to her national championships tally.
Two-time Herald Sun Tour winner Lucy Kennedy comes into the road race fresh off the back of a second-place finish overall at the Santos Festival of Cycling, while former criterium champions Sarah Roy and Jess Allen will tackle Friday’s crit before lining up for the road race on Sunday.
Grace Brown (AUS, 28) (Time Trial & Road Race)
Jess Allen (AUS, 27) (Criterium & Road Race)
Sarah Roy (AUS, 34) (Criterium & Road Race)
Lucy Kennedy (AUS, 32) (Road Race)
“The Santos Festival of Cycling was a tough tour and it definitely highlighted that I have a bit of work to do before being at my top level. I felt that I built form throughout those four days of racing intensity and that should improve my shape coming into Nationals.
“It’s a mental challenge starting the Australian season a bit behind, but it’s in line with the plan to be firing in time for the Belgian Classics. Despite this, I’m confident that we will be able to challenge for the Australian titles in Buninyong this year.
“My primary focus in the time trial, but from previous years I find the preparation for both events goes hand-in-hand. Come Sunday, the road race will be just as important. Given the global situation and restricted travel, it would feel more significant than ever to be able to take the Australian jersey back over to Europe and represent our country in the WordTour peloton.”
“The Santos Festival of Cycling was a great opportunity to get some racing in the legs before nationals. Since our European season finished mid-November the form is still building.
“There is always a bit of a target on our backs heading into the national championship races being the only WorldTour team with numbers here in Australia, and with that comes a fair bit of pressure. But I think it’s important we race to our strengths and not lose sight of what’s to come with the classics starting in a month’s time and will run for about six weeks.
Australian Championships 2021 Race Details:
Wednesday, 3rd Feb: Federation University, 28.6km (Time Trial)
Friday, 5th Feb: Ballarat, 44km/40 Laps (Criterium)
Sunday, 7th Feb: Buninyong – Buninyong, 104.4km (Road Race)
Photo Courtesy of Getty Images.