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Australia selects stellar long list for Road Worlds

Australia has named its long team for the UCI Road World Championships in Copenhagen next month with some new faces making an appearance, and some old failing to make the cut.

Cycling Australia National Performance Director, Kevin Tabotta, says the long teams give selectors a wide range of options for selection of teams that will suit the Denmark road course.

"A course like Copenhagen comes around every five years or so and is an opportunity for nations to select riders suited to a fast bunch finish," said Tabotta. "But we also have to ensure we have alternative scenarios covered as well because, for example, a cold wet race could make for a very difficult day that might see a very different race evolve."

While talk of a course custom made for sprinters has dominated the lead up, Tabotta says that coming up with a team to deliver the right result is not an easy task.

"Fast finishers, opportunists, workers, we need to get the mix right to handle how the race might unfold," he explained. "There are a few races between now and the final selection dates and we'll be looking at who is in form.

"Copenhagen might appear to be a less demanding course than some past circuits but there are no easy world titles and the riders will make it a tough and exciting week of racing."

Australia has qualified nine riders for the road race, with Rory Sutherland making the initial selection for what would be his first selection in a national team since 2000. Missing is stalwart Michael Rogers who has sat out most of the 2011 season with a viral infection.

Fourteen riders will be cut to nine closer to the event with Simon Clarke, Baden Cooke, Simon Gerrans, Matt Goss, Adam Hansen, Heinrich Haussler, Matthew Hayman, Leigh Howard, Michael Matthews, Robbie McEwen, Stuart O’Grady, Mark Renshaw, Sutherland and CJ Sutton all making the long list for the 266 kilometre road race.

In the time trial, Jack Bobridge, Cameron Meyer and Richie Porte will vie for two positions available to take on the 46.6 kilometre course.

Tour de France winner Cadel Evans did not make himself available for selection, despite being a strong asset for the team in Geelong in 2010.

"Cadel has proven he is a real competitor even on courses that might not appear to suit him so well," said Tabotta. "He was super in Geelong last year and a rider of his calibre is an asset for any team but he has had a massive year and we understand and support his decision to give himself time to recharge for 2012 when he will have both Tour de France and Olympic Games objectives."

For the women, Oceania Road and Time Trial Champion Shara Gillow is the only rider on the senior team set to line up in both disciplines. The 23-year-old Giro Donne stage winner can race as an additional rider to the six selected for the road race thanks to her Oceania title.

Australia will head into the under 23 category with plenty of options to defend Michael Matthews title from Geelong with selectors naming Nick Aitken, Alexander Carver, Rohan Dennis, Luke Durbridge, Australian road champion Ben Dyball, Michael Freiberg, Michael Hepburn, Patrick Lane, Richard Lang, Joseph Lewis, Jay McCarthy, Thomas Palmer, Malcolm Rudolph needing to be whittled down to five riders with Oceania champion Lang available as a sixth.

Durbridge, and Hepburn are also eligible for the time trial with Oceania Champion Damien Howson also available.

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As a sports journalist and producer since 1997, Jane has covered Olympic and Commonwealth Games, rugby league, motorsport, cricket, surfing, triathlon, rugby union, and golf for print, radio, television and online. However her enduring passion has been cycling.


Jane is a former Australian Editor of Cyclingnews from 2011 to 2013 and continues to freelance within the cycling industry.