With four weeks until the Championships gets underway with the fast and furious action of the criterium on Wednesday 3 January, Australia’s national champions are signing on for the 2018 FedUni Road National Championships in Ballarat.
Reigning road champions Miles Scotson (BMC Racing) and Katrin Garfoot (QAS) are primed to defend defend their crowns, with Garfoot predicting a challenging race with both green and gold glory and a Commonwealth Games team spot on the line.
“Leading into Commonwealth Games, it will be big,” said Garfoot, who will ride in Queensland Academy of Sport colours in Ballarat. “It will be very hard this year to defend the road title because of this, riders want to qualify for the Games.”
“I think that I will be well covered in the race and not being part of the Orica team in 2018 means I will have a few more high quality opponents this year,” Garfoot remarked of her switch for the 2018 season.
Orica-Scott’s dual winners Amanda Spratt (2012 & 2016) and Gracie Elvin (2013 & 14), plus 2015 champion Peta Mullens (Hagens Berman–Supermint) are all confirmed.
For Scotson, his title defence will come as part of a formidable BMC attack which includes 2015 time trial champion and dual road medallist Richie Porte, dual reigning time trial champion Rohan Dennis and dual road race champion Simon Gerrans.
“It will be nice to go into the road race with numbers,” said Porte, twice a road race bronze medallist behind Gerrans in 2012 and 2014. “With the numbers that we have, four strong guys, I believe we have the guys to do it (win).
“If it not me, to have someone of the calibre of Simon come and join the team in 2018, Rohan is always up for a good fight and Miles showed last year he could do it.”
In the time trials, Garfoot and Dennis will both be looking to make it three on the trot, however four-time champion Shara Gillow (FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope) will be gunning for a record-equalling fifth crown, with former champions Porte and Orica-Scott’s Cameron Meyer and Luke Durbridge adding to the mouth watering start lists.
The criterium kick-starts the week’s action on Wednesday evening, with Orica-Scott’s reigning champions Caleb Ewan and Jessica Allen, plus former winners Anthony Giacoppo, Lauren Kitchen and Sarah Roy ensuring plenty of firepower.
In the under 23 category, Callum Scotson (BMC Racing Dev Team), Alexandra Manly (Orica-Scott) and Sam Jenner (Mitchelton-Scott) will be back to defend their crowns.
The Championships will welcome two new categories with Australia’s best U19 and Para-cyclists set to join the U23 and elite in the battle for the coveted green and gold jersey. Paralympians Carol Cooke (VIC), Stuart Tripp (VIC) and David Nicholas (QLD) are three of a stellar cast set to line up.
“The green and gold stripes are an honour to win and wear,” said triple Paralympic gold medallist Cooke. “Not many people can say that they have won them, so I wear them proudly.
“And it is even more amazing the Para-cyclists now have the chance to battle for them at the Road Nationals for the first time.”
Cycling Australia CEO Nick Green OAM is delighted that the FedUni RoadNats will once again deliver the very best cyclists in the world right to Australian fans’ backyards.
“Australia’s cyclists have achieved success all over the world, from the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the World Championships and WorldTour,” said Green. “And year after year, the lure of a green and gold national champions jersey brings them home.
“There is no other cycling event in Australia that can boast as many of world‘s best in one place, from the under 19 and 23 rising stars, our para-cycling heroes, and the elite.
“We encourage all cycling fans to check the schedule so they don’t miss a minute of the action.
“It truly will be an electrifying festival of cycling.”
Equally, City of Ballarat Mayor Samantha McIntosh is thrilled with the stars who will shine in Ballarat in January.
“Each year the battle for the coveted green and gold jersey gains more and more attention, continuing to strengthen Ballarat’s strong reputation as a preferred and welcoming cycling destination,” said McIntosh.
“It’s fantastic to see names synonymous with the cycling community return to Ballarat in 2018.
“We, as a city, are forging ahead with our commitment to cycling. It’s high-profile cyclists, such as our reigning and former champions, who play a major role in encouraging more people to start cycling in Ballarat.”
The final entry fields and start lists will be public after entries close on December 22.
Details on the broadcast schedule will be announced in the coming weeks.
More details about the 2018 FedUni Road National Championships at roadnationals.org.au.
Wednesday 3 January
Thursday 4 January
Friday 5 January
Saturday 6 January
Sunday 7 January