Geelong-based Chloe McConville is amongst an ORICA-AIS team full of winning options to line up in the first race of 2016, theMitchelton Bay Cycling Classic starting on Friday, 1 January.
McConville has produced solid results at criteriums during December, including a win in Tasmania, and is looking forward to the step up in racing intensity at the ‘Bay Crits’.
?I think I?ve had some surprising form,? McConville said. ?I wouldn?t say I knew it was coming but I?m hoping my recent training has topped it up more so I will be looking even stronger in January.?
?The ?Bay Crits? are also the hardest and fastest criterium racing in the world so the girls who race there are usually in good knick going into nationals.
?It?s a great form finder. You get to see how others people?s form is, you see how your own form is and then we get to play the real game at nationals a week later.?
2014 Australian criterium champion Sarah Roy and Lizzie Williams, who finished the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic third overall on debut for ORICA-AIS in 2015, join McConville in the first race of 2016.
Former Australian champions Gracie EIvin and Amanda SPRATT, who will be looking for the perfect chance to escape down the road, complete the lineup.
?I?d love to get the opportunity to go for a stage win myself,? McConville said.
?I will support our sprinters in Roy and Lizzie but it?s a group that everyone is very strong in the finish and can hold their own, so if anyone gets up the road they have the full support of the rest of the team. That?s the beauty of the group that is going.
?Trying to take out the team classification is also a pretty big goal for us.?
Sport director Gene Bates said the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic was the perfect kick-start to the Australian outfit?s fifth season.
?For us it?s a great start event and it?s a good hit out leading into the January of racing in Australia,? Bates said. ?We will have certain objectives with certain riders on different days but in general we will be hunting those stage wins.?
?I think it?s a perfect intensity leading into the national championships. It?s difficult to find racing at this time of year and to go into the national championships without any racing specific intensity is always a bit of the gamble.
?For us it?s a bit of insurance to give the girls the chance to stretch their legs and get ready for the races to come.?
The 27th edition of the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic follows the traditional four-criterium route, starting at Geelong?s Eastern Beach for a fast and furious twilight hotdog circuit on New Year?s Day and finishing with the popular Williamstown circuit on Monday, 4 January.
ORICA-AIS at the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic (1-4 Jan):
Gracie ELVIN (AUS, ACT, 27)
Chloe McConville (AUS, VIC, 28)
Sarah Roy (AUS, NSW, 29)
Amanda SPRATT (AUS, NSW, 28)
Lizzie Williams (AUS, VIC, 32)