Australian riders to debut Mitchelton-BikeExchange colour at Australian ChampionshipsWed 3 Jan 2018
A four-rider contingent will represent Mitchelton-BikeExchange at the Australian Championships this week, racing in both the time trial and road race events.
Previously announced returning riders Sam Jenner and Harry Sweeny will be joined by last year’s teammate Robbart Stannard and a familiar face in Callum Scotson who has ridden with the trio in various national team events in the past 12months.
Although yet to formerly take their positions in the Mitchelton-BikeExchange team, in order to remain eligible for national team positions in races such as the Tour Down Under, Stannard and Scotson will wear the new black, yellow and red uniform and are expected to sign with the outfit next month at the conclusion of the Australian season.
We preview the two events with sports director James Victor:
Thursday, 4 January – Time Trial
In their first hit out for the 2018 season, riders will take on a challenging up-and-back 29.5km race against the clock on Thursday.
The difficult course requires a measure effort throughout and with nowhere to hide, will see the strongest rider win.
Mitchelton-BikeExchange boast some of the top favourites, including Scotson, who has won the past two editions, and last year’s runner-up Stannard. All four riders are in with a chance of a medal.
James Victor – Sports Director:
“It’s easily the hardest time trial course that has been used in recent history for the national championships. It’s undulating, the wind does have an impact and pacing strategy is critical.”
“Given Callum Scotson has won the past two editions, he has to be the clear favourite, but he has also been trying to mix his summer preparations in with preparing for the track world championships. He has managed that successfully in the past two years, so we hope he can do that again.”
“Robbart was second last year and I think he will step up again this year so I think between the two, it should be a close fought battle. Sam Jenner was in the top five and Harry Sweeny didn’t race it last year but I think all four of our guys will be in the hunt for medals and it’ll be interesting to see what other competition there is.”
Saturday, 6 January – Road Race
Mitchelton-BikeExchange go into Saturday’s road race with four riders, all with a chance of claiming the coveted green and gold jersey. But, they won’t have it all their way with the race a big target for the full under-23 peloton.
The traditional Buninyong circuit has a small change that isn’t predicted to make a huge difference to proceedings as the peloton takes on 12 laps in the 139.2km race, but Mitchelton-BikeExchange are hoping to walk away with a repeat of Jenner’s performance last year.
James Victor – Sports Director:
“The under-23 riders manage their season around the Australian summer in effort to get selected for the national team, so everyone is there in good shape.
“There are not big teams to control the race, but at the same time there’s never a group that gets too far away because there’s probably 15 or 20 guys who think they can win on the day. It makes for exciting racing, plus the distance is 140km and the boys usually race up to 170-180km in international one-day races so it allows the race to be more aggressive earlier on.
“It’s always the second last lap where we see some aggression and the stronger riders will start to pick the pace up and then it’s down to the last lap for who can hang on.
“It’s a tough course, but if it plays out how it should I think all four of our guys have got equal chance to sneak away and we will be looking to play those cards in the final laps.”