Australian nationals field full of promise

Recently-crowned Australian cyclist of the year Cameron Meyer will make an unprecedented three-pronged attack on the Mars Cycling Australia national road championships, held in Ballarat, Australia, on January 6-11.

The 22-year-old reigning Australian road time trial champion has enjoyed an incredibly successful 2010 on the track, winning three gold medals at the world titles in Denmark earlier this year, followed by another three at the Commonwealth Games in October.

The West Australian will contest the criterium, road race and time trial at the national championships.

Meyer and his younger brother Travis dominated the men's open section of the 2010 road championships in Buninyong this January, with the latter securing a surprise victory in the road race from Queenslander David Kemp and rank outsider, Ballarat's popular Damien Turner.

The Meyer brothers, members of the Garmin Transitions ProTour team, will be a focal point of the new-look nine-event championships which have been expanded to six days.

Criteriums will be raced in Sturt Street, Ballarat, on Thursday evening, January 6, road races on the traditional Buninyong course on the Saturday and Sunday, with the time trials at Learmonth on Tuesday, January 11.

Entries for all events at the championships close on December 27 but already the field for the the blue riband men's open road race shapes as the best for many years. World championship podium finisher and Commonwealth Games road champion, Allan Davis (Astana), will make another attempt to conquer the tough Buninyong circuit. His previous best performance was runner-up to Stuart O’Grady in 2003.

Triple grand tour stage winner Simon Gerrans (Team Sky) and 2010 Giro d'Italia revelation, Tasmania's Richie Porte (Saxo Bank), will strive to make their first appearance on the championships podium.

Victorian Matt Lloyd, who achieved his most important international success this year by winning the King of the Mountains title at the Giro d'Italia, will endeavour to add another national road race crown to the one he snared in Buninyong in 2008.

Championships director John Craven said he was thrilled with the early quality of the entries. "This is the eighth time for the championships to be held in the Ballarat region and they are shaping up as the best," he said. "The quality of the competition should be fantastic."

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