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Australian mountain biker Jodie Willett wins award

Jodie Willett has joined the Merida Flight Centre team and hopes to make the 2012 Olympic Games team.

Jodie Willett has joined the Merida Flight Centre team and hopes to make the 2012 Olympic Games team. (Image credit: Tim Grainger)

Australian mountain bike team member Jodie Willett has been named as Queensland's elite female road cyclist of the year.

Brisbane-based Willett, 32, recently joined the Flight Centre Merida professional mountain bike team and is focussed on representing Australia at the 2012 London Olympics.

Willett, who only took up cycling seriously in her late 20s after injuries curtailed her recreational running, was honoured at the 35th Annual Cycling Queensland awards in Brisbane.

Olympic gold medallist Anna Meares took out the cyclist of the year award and was also named elite female track cyclist of the year.

Willett, who was competing in a mountain bike event interstate and unable to attend the awards, said she was thrilled to be acknowledged in such illustrious company.

"I have been concentrating on mountain bike racing lately and haven't had a lot of competition on the road this year so the award comes as a bit of a surprise, but it's still a great thrill and encouraging for me to win this," she said.

Willett has a number of road race commitments scheduled in January of 2010, including the women's criterium at the Tour Down Under in Adelaide.

"It's great exposure competing in the tour criterium and the $15,000 prizemoney is a major attraction as well," she said.

Willett combines elite level mountain bike and road racing with owning a sports and remedial massage business Frixshon, studying for a commerce degree and raising her seven-year-old daughter Helica.

The single mother from Bardon in Brisbane's west, who has worked in her business with the Brisbane Lions and Queensland Reds, represented Australia at September's world mountain bike championships in Canberra. She also won the women's race at the Flight Centre Cycle Epic in South-East Queensland in August.