Australian National Road Championships 2009
Road Race Preview
10th January, Buninyong, 102km (10 laps of a circuit)
Much is being made of the entry by Judith Arndt (Team Columbia Women) to the road race on Saturday. Championships director John Craven today described the [overall] entry to the men's and women's Championships as overwhelming. “The championships are littered with class,” he said. “Buninyong is poised to host a feast of world-class cycling.
“To have riders of the calibre of Michael Rogers and Judith Arndt contesting the titles is a terrific vote of confidence in the City of Ballarat’s promotion of the event.”
Craven said Arndt was arguably the world’s best female road rider of the past decade. She won the road race at the 2004 World Championships and a silver medal at the Athens Olympic Games. She was also the individual pursuit world champion in 1997.
Whilst Arndt certainly has the most impressive 'palmeres' in the women's entry list, there are others who will not be overawed by her reputation and who will be looking for glory themselves. Last year's winner, Oenone Wood, is now retired; but there are other international riders on the start list too. 2008 silver medallist and Beijing Olympian, Sharon Laws (Great Britain) returns to the Australian Championships once again. Another Briton in the field is American-based Rachel Heal, who will ride in 2009 for the Colavita Sutter women's team. Jane Despas and Kate Ross are two Americans in the field.
Of the Australians vying for the title, Ruth Corsett (fourth in 2008) and Rochelle Gilmore are likely to be in contention. So too, could be recently crowned Australian criterium Champion, Kirsty Broun. Australian road rider of 2008, Vikki Whitelaw will be looking for a good performance before heading to join her new team, Nicole Cooke's Vision 1 Racing, in Europe. Others heading back overseas to professional teams in 2009 are Alexis Rhodes (Webcor) and Carla Ryan (Cervelo Test Team), who are also potential protagonists.
As with previous years, the strength of the possible breakaways and any counterattacks which are attempted could be commanded by the teamwork of riders from individual states. Queensland has a strong team again, so too, New South Wales.
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