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Peter Sagan (Cannondale) smiling at the start line
No 'off' in off-season as riders gear for an hour of power
Peter Sagan (Cannondale) remains busy in his off-season with a number of engagements keeping his calendar filled. After taking on sumo wrestlers and battling it out with Chris Froome (Sky) and Rui Costa (Movista) in Japan, the Tour de France green jersey winner's next appointment is the Subaru Australia Open Criterium in Noosa, Australia.
Sagan travelled Down Under with his brother Juraj at his side where the duo spent the day before the race fulfilling a number of media appointments on the town's beach front as well as the regular pre-race press conference. On the main stage Australian commentator Matt Keenan questioned Peter Sagan along with other headline stars Simon Clarke, Luke Durbridge, Leigh Howard (Orica GreenEdge), Cameron Wurf (Cannondale), Gracie Elvin, and Shara Gillow (Orica-AIS) about the criterium to be run on Saturday.
Andrew Caie, Subaru General Marketing Manager said that having Sagan in town is a great way to boost the profile of cycling.
"His showmanship has without a doubt helped to make the sport of professional cycling more fun," he said. "The more energy and personality guys like Peter bring to the sport, the more people will want to watch it.
"Plus having Peter here will help people appreciate how good our local talent is, which is important to growing the appeal of cycling in Australia. Having Peter here is also a great way for our young kids to get a sense of what it's like to be a part of the big wide world of professional cycling as it appears in Europe."
The women's criterium over 30 minutes and three laps is first up at 14:30 pm AEST with Wiggle-Honda bringing a team of three including recent signing Peta Mullens, their director, rider and former champion, Rochelle Gilmore, as well as last year's winner, Lauren Kitchen.
Competition will be tight with reigning Australian Criterium Champion Kimberley Wells (Specialized Securitor), Carlee Tayler (Lotto-Belisol), reigning 2013 NRS Champion Katrin Garfoot and her fierce rival in Ruth Corset (Pensar SPM) also taking to the start line. The race will also see former dual Commonwealth Games gold medallist Megan Dunn line up as she continues her return to the top echelon of female cycling.
The men's event that kicks off at 16:40 AEST will be raced over a very fast and very trying 45 minutes plus three laps with the battle to line up first being crucial. Rider's caught at the back early on can often be found beginning their post race festivities before the winner has even had a chance to give a salute.
In the past the event has showcased the skills of those who possess true technical nous as well as a fast finish, as was most evident in last year's event when Robbie McEwen beat close friend Jonathan Cantwell (Saxo-Tinkoff) to the line. Cantwell returns this year alongside the Sagan brothers with Michael Hepburn, Jens Mouris (Orica-GreenEdge) and Koen de Kort (Argos-Shimano) who is also gearing up for the race.