Kimberley Wells was victorious in January this year at the national criterium championships and has enjoyed the profile the national jersey has brought her. Wells won ahead of Loren Rowney (Specialized Lululemon) and eventual road race national champion Gracie Elvin (Orica-AIS).
Wells has confirmed that she will be mounting a defence of the green and gold on her return to Ballarat. "My national title definitely put me on the map," said Wells. "Being able to represent my country in terms of wearing the green and gold overseas has been really special." The win proved a blessing for Wells who enjoyed success with American team Fearless Femme where she had five wins including stage three of the Tour of Elk Grove and the Anderson Baducci Twilight criterium.
"I raced in America with some amazing people, we were on the podium so many times it's all a bit of a blur. We did a lot of criterium racing so every race the announcers would make a spectacle and yell out my name saying that I was a national criterium champion, it was so cool," said Wells.
Wells knows she won't fly under the radar this time around when the elite women's criterium kicks off. "Winning a second criterium title will be a bit of a dream. I'm definitely going to be marked but hopefully I can back it up with a bit of fire-power to take the win," she said.
2013 runner up Rowney also enjoyed overseas success this year winning stages at the Lotto Belisol Belgium Tour, Gracia Orlova, and the Tour Languedoc. The Gold Coast native will join Wells in her fight to defend her title with both committed to Specialized Securitor for the summer.
"The team is very supportive," Wells said. "We have an even stronger team this summer with Specialized Securitor and we've all got each other's backs.
"I've heard people say that when they are in the leader's jersey in a tour that it lifts them, and wearing the green and gold [jersey] definitely makes me feel faster. When I put it on, I feel so excited to race, and you really stand out wearing the green and gold!"
The Women's National Criterium Championship is held in Ballarat on January 9.