Cycling Australia has named its team for the Bergen World Championships later this month with Michael Matthews headlining the nine-man squad. BMC's Rohan Dennis has been selected but will only ride the time trial.
Matthews, who won two stages of the Tour de France and green jersey in July, has finished fourth and third in his last two appearances at the Worlds. The 2010 U23 world champion has enjoyed a successful first season with Sunweb since moving across from Orica-Scott and will be the team's protected rider for the 276.5km course in Bergen.
Despite recording just eight race days in 2017, Heinrich Haussler is a surprise selection in the team. The Bahrain-Merida rider reconned the course with Matthews earlier in the season and has done enough in his recovery from a knee injury to earn his sixth green and gold jersey at the Worlds for Australia.
"These selections are all made with performance perspectives in mind," said High Performance Director Simon Jones. "We have good chances in both the elite men's and women races. The men's team is focused on providing Michael Matthews 100% commitment in the road race and we believe we have prioritised selections to ensure the best possible outcome on race day.
"Also in the time trial, I'm looking forward to seeing how Rohan and Katrin performs, as they are both strong contenders who are no doubt hungry for success. In the women's selections, the selected riders have proved themselves throughout 2017 and we are confident they will be in the mix to get near the podium."
Mat Hayman (Orica-Scott) and Simon Clarke (Cannondale-Drapac) will be key captains on the road for the Australian squad. Rory Sutherland (Movistar) adds further experience and will be crucial in setting the tempo when Australia are called upon to work. Orica-Scott trio Mitch Docker, Luke Durbridge and debutant Jack Haig will also be key domestiques for Matthews. The team is completed by Jay McCarthy (Bora-Hansgrohe) who is expected to with Matthews for the final.
Dennis is the sole representative in the time trial and is aiming to put his big stage bad luck to one side to claim a maiden rainbow jersey. Since the 2014 Tour de Suisse stage 7 time trial when Dennis was 105, he finished outside the top ten against the clock on just three occasions. In 2017, Dennis has won seven straight team and individual time trials and was the favourite for the stage 16 Vuelta a Espana time trial before illness forced him to withdraw. However, he is yet to finish on the podium at the Worlds.
Richie Porte (BMC) is still recovering from his Tour de France injuries and was therefore unavailable for selection. In the contest for selection, Adam Hansen (Lotto Soudal), Simon Gerrans (Orica-Scott) and Nathan Haas (Dimension Data) also missed out on a green and gold jersey for Bergen.
Despite qualifying seven riders for the women's road race, Australia is fielding just five riders for the event.
Shara Gillow (FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope) has earned a recall to the national squad in 2017 in an otherwise all Orica-Scott squad. Dual national champion Katrin Garfoot is the only rider to be selected for both events, 12-months after claiming bronze in the time trial.
Garfoot's teammates Gracie Elvin, Sarah Roy and Amanda Spratt will complete the squad.
The U23 men's team is predominately comprised of Mitchelton-Scott riders with Callum Scotson from BMC Development Team the exception. Scotson will race both the road and time trial events.
Top-ten at the Tour de l'Avenir and on the podium at the Baby Giro, Lucas Hamilton, and Jai Hindley are both selected in the team. Michael Storer, who joins Hindley at Sunweb next season, and Rob Stannard will complete the squad.
Australian team for the 2017 Bergen World Championships
Elite Men: Simon Clarke (Cannondale Drapac), Rohan Dennis (BMC), Mitchell Docker (Orica-Scott), Luke Durbridge (Orica-Scott), Jack Haig (Orica-Scott), Heinrich Haussler (Bahrain–Merida), Mathew Hayman (Orica-Scott), Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb), Jay McCarthy (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Rory Sutherland (Movistar).
Elite Women: Gracie Elvin (Orica-Scott), Katrin Garfoot Orica-Scott), Shara Gillow (FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope), Sarah Roy (Orica-Scott), and Amanda Spratt (Orica-Scott).
Under 23 Men: Lucas Hamilton (Mitchelton-Scott), Jai Hindley (Mitchelton-Scott), Callum Scotson (BMC Development Squad), Robert Stannard (Mitchelton-Scott) and Michael Storer (Mitchelton-Scott).