Selecting Australia’s representatives for this year’s world championships will be a difficult task according to Cycling Australia’s national high performance director Shayne Bannan. With the International Cycling Union World Road Championships set to be staged on home soil in Geelong, Australia, the governing body faces a tougher than usual selection.
Normally staged in Europe, the opportunity to fight for the rainbow jersey Down Under is a once in a lifetime chance for the riders. The opportunity has most Australian professionals aiming for a spot on the squad.
“Our first camp is in Italy next week,” said Bannan. “The easy part will be the championships, the hard part will be selecting the team. It is going to be very hard to select the teams in the men’s, women’s and under 23’s.”
Bannan added that while Cadel Evans and Michael Rogers have played down their chances of adding more rainbow jerseys to their respective collections that neither rider should be discounted. Evans is the reigning road race champion while Rogers has claimed multiple time trial titles throughout his career.
“Michael and Cadel may be playing down their chances but there is a time trial that will suit both of them, yes the road race might suit an Allan Davis or a Simon Gerrans, but I wouldn’t be discounting the likes of Michael or Cadel,” Bannan said.
The 2010 World Road Championships organising committee has announced that Mapei has signed on as the major sponsor for this year’s event. Mapei Group Giorgio Squinzi said his passion for the sport came from his father when announcing the sponsorship.
Mapei has had a long association with the Australian national cycling team and the AIS high performance programs through technical and scientific support provided by Mapei Sport’s research and service centre in Castellanza, Italy.
“This partnership is particularly important to Mapei, given our long association and support of Australian cycling in particular the high performance program, and our individual relationship with both Cadel Evans and Michael Rogers,” Squinzi added.
Mapei’s training centre has played a key role in the development of many Australian cyclists including Evans and Rogers, who began as an Espoir in the Mapei program in 2001-2002 and still utilise the Mapei sports centre for their regular monthly endurance tests under the watchful eye of coach Aldo Sassi.