Pros make national titles a priority in 2011
Organisers of the Australian Open Road Championships are pleased with the total of 686 entries across the elite men's, women's and U23 men's events at next year's titles - to be held January 6-11 - which represents an increase of 13 percent on that seen in 2010.
All fields boast a plethora of stars, with the road race events attracting the cream of Australia's road cycling talent. The elite men's road race has attracted a 158-rider startlist, with the likes of RadioShack rider Robbie McEwen, Saxo Bank's Richie Porte, Comonwealth Games gold medalist Allan Davis, exciting neo-pro Will Clarke and Team Sky's Simon Gerrans lining up in Ballarat.
The women's road race will see Delhi Commonwealth Games road race medalists Rochelle Gilmore and Chloe Hosking line up, while another member of that Australian team, Vicki Whitelaw, will also start. Mountain biker Rowena Fry makes a transition from the dirt to the road, whilst Hosking's HTC-Highroad teammate, Judith Arndt, will undoubtedly keep the women honest with her attacking racing style.
In addition to Arndt there are several international riders amongst the three road races, with Ben Swift joining his Team Sky teammates Gerrans, Mat Hayman and Chris Sutton while Koen De Kort and Floris Goesinnen will be helping Skil-Shimano teammate Mitchell Docker in his bid for green-and-gold glory.
Current U23 men's road race world champion Michael Matthews will line up for the road race and time trial while defending Australian men's time trial national champion Cameron Meyer returns for another shot at the jersey.
The criteriums promise to be exciting affairs across all three categories, with similar fields to those of the road races, as the likes of McEwen, Davis and co try their luck against Jonathan Cantwell, Bernard Sulzberger and Ben Kersten in the elite men's event. In the women's race defending champion Carly Light is back to take on Hosking and experienced sprinter Kirsty Broun for the national champion's jersey.
For full startlists and more information, visit www.aorcc.com