Australian road and time trial champion Katrin Garfoot will headline the UniSA-Australia squad for next month's Women's Tour Down Under. The strong squad also includes Tiffany Cromwell, Shara Gillow, Lauren Kitchen and Rachel Neylan.
Garfoot was the overall winner of the race in 2016 and was seventh in 2017 riding in support of Orica-Scott teammate and overall winner Amanda Spratt. Garfoot, 34, is taking a break from professional cycling after April's Commonwealth Games but will first use the Australian cycling of racing to press her claims for national selection.
"I am happy to have a spot in such a fantastic team this summer, these girls deserve a ride and I am proud to be a part of the team," said Garfoot. "My goal is to have a great race plan and to have great race with the team."
"I think it is great that all the girls get a chance to ride the UCI races this summer, especially these races counts towards the Commonwealth Games selection. I may know that I have ticked a lot of boxes for selections, but for me that still does not take the pressure off. I still have to perform on my best standard.
"Having the opportunity to race this Australian summer season will give us all a chance to test our legs and get us back into a race routine ahead of the Commonwealth Games."
The sixth and final member of the team will be announced followed the Australian national championships in early-January.
Adelaide local Cromwell raced with her Canyon-SRAM trade team in 2016 but with her squad choosing not to start the season down under will race with the national team. Despite having both Gillow and Kitchen on its roster for 2018, FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope also won't be racing in Australia. Although Gillow and Kitchen are both free to race the Women's Tour Down Under with the national team.
Neylan, who will ride with the new Movistar women's team in 2018, will also pull on the green and gold jersey at the race next month.
The Women's Tour Down Under has been elevated to 2.1 status from 2018. The race will run 11-14 January with four stages around Adelaide.