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When the announcement of the Australian team for the world championship was released there were questions about why Cycling Australia only opted to fill five of the seven slots available to the women’s team. RIDE spoke with CA’s high performance director to get him to explain…

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Earlier today Cycling Australia published the selection of the national team(s) for the upcoming road cycling world championships in Bergen, Norway. As the press release stated, “These selections are all made with performance perspectives in mind.”

Simon Jones, CA’s high performance director, is overseeing the selection along with three others – Bradley McGee, Rik Fulcher and Dave McPartland – and the aim is to field teams capable of winning races.

“We have good chances in both the elite men’s and women races,” said Jones in the official release.

Australia is ranked third in the world rankings and it could field a total of seven women for the road race but there are only five on the list issued this morning: Gracie Elvin, Katrin Garfoot, Shara Gillow, Sarah Roy and Amanda Spratt.

“In the women’s selections,” said Jones, “the selected riders have proved themselves throughout 2017 and we are confident they will be in the mix to get near the podium.”

RIDE recently spoke to Jones and asked why two of the possible spots for the road race have been left vacant and he offered this explanation: “We’ve made all the selections based on performance.

“It’s quite clear what we’ve done this year. We’ve just tried to pick the people that we feel are going to give Australia the best possible outcome. And, on that basis, we felt five have earned that for this year – and that was the five that the panel have decided to take.

“Importantly, of course, for the road race you have to look very carefully at the course profile and we felt those five women had done enough to warrant selection and earn their places.”

Of the five who will compete in Bergen, all have won national championships – either road races, time trials or criteriums. There is genuine quality in the selection and Jones is confident in their ability to perform later this month.

“Do we have athletes to win?” continued Jones. “For example, in the men’s, we really believe [Michael] Matthews had answered that question.

“Clearly, this year he’ll have the whole team behind him.

“I think, for the women, they’ve had a good year but I don’t think there’s been a real clear leader and that course is going to be quite tough. Even the climb is split into two: we’ve done a recon there and it’s certainly not a Sprinter’s Course.

“The women we have selected, they’ve had good performances this year but there’s not a real stand-out that we could put the whole team behind to work towards.

“The plan for the women was to keep the quality high and it’s really going to come down to – what we think, as a good guestimate, a smallish group at the finish. And the five we’ve selected have proven their capability to be competitive.

“The selection criteria clearly states: we don’t have to fill teams.”



– By Rob Arnold