ORICA-AIS promise aggressive start to 2017 at Bay Crits

Tue 27 Dec 2016

ORICA-AIS (to be known as ORICA-SCOTT in 2017) will start the new year with the promise of aggression when they line up at the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic from Sunday, 1 January.

A jammed-packed summer of cycling sees the ‘Bay Crits’ reduced to three days, starting with the traditional hotdog circuit on Geelong’s waterfront on New Year’s Day, before heading to the tough Portarlington circuit and concluding in Williamstown on Tuesday, 3 January.

The Australian outfit, who return as defending champions, are wary of the unpredictable nature of the ‘world’s fastest criterium series’ in their pursuit of success.

“The Bay Crits isn’t an easy race to target the overall because the minute you ride defensively, it can all fall apart,” sport director Gene Bates said.

“It has worked well in the past for us to ride aggressively across all three days as individual targets. We will use this tactic again next year and hopefully it will also produce a good overall result for us.”

The team will boast the experience of team leader and Australian champion Amanda Spratt, Dutch opportunist Annemiek van Vleuten and former national criterium champion Sarah Roy.  Youngsters Jessica Allen and Jenelle Crooks, who both joined the team mid-2016, round out a versatile five-women squad.

“We are lining up with options for all scenarios,” Bates said. “Annemiek is a really aggressive racer and will take her opportunities, Spratt is more suited to the tougher days like the Portarlington circuit and Roy, as a former national criterium champion, can easily look after herself in the sprints.”

“In saying that, the women's field at the Bay Crits continues to get better and better. Whether that is a reflection of the growing number of criterium races in Australia or the strength of Australian women's cycling, the girls will be up against it.”

The Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic is a fast start for the team’s sixth season, but the perfect preparation for the racing to come.

“Typically, the Bay Crits are used as a good, hard hit out to start the year,” Bates explained. “We give the girls the choice to race and many of them revel in the opportunity to get the legs moving, heart rate up and blood pumping ahead of the national championships.”

ORICA-AIS (ORICA-SCOTT) at the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic (1-3 Jan):

Jessica Allen (AUS, 23)
Jenelle Crooks (AUS, 22)
Sarah Roy (AUS, 30)
Amanda Spratt (AUS, 29)
Annemiek van Vleuten (NED, 34) 

Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic – Race Details: 

Sunday, 1 January: Criterium 1 – Eastern Beach, Geelong
Monday, 2 January: Criterium 2 – Portarlington
Tuesday, 3 January: Criterium 3 - Williamstown