Cycling Australia has announced the Australian teams that will contest the 2014 UCI World Championships to be held in Ponferrada, Spain. Simon Gerrans is one of four Orica-GreenEdge riders to be selected for the elite men's race which will be held on Sunday, September 29 over 254.8km and will be one of several cards the team will be able to play as it chases the rainbow jersey.
While Cadel Evans (BMC) is yet to announce his intentions for 2015, the 37-year-old is likely to be one the protected riders on a course that suits his characteristics. Evans was the 2009 World Champion and remains the only Australian to have won the road race.
The men's course is 14 laps of 18.2 kilometres circuit and over 254,8km, the riders will face 28 climbs with a maximum gradient of 11%.
While the road race appears to be decided between a select group after 4000m of climbing, Michael Matthews will provide the team another option should the course prove less selective then anticipated and finish in a large bunch sprint. Matthews won stages at the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a España this year and also wore both leader's jerseys at the grand tours.
Simon Clarke (Orica-GreenEdge) will be called upon to support the likes of Gerrans and Evans, although Clarke's seventh place at last year's Worlds could see the Victorian become a protected rider depending on how the race develops.
Having won a third-week stage of the Vuelta, Adam Hansen (Lotto-Belisol) proved he is hitting form at the right time and along with Mat Hayman (Orica-GreenEdge), Heinrich Haussler (IAM Cycling) and Rory Sutherland (Tinkoff-Saxo) will form the engine room for the team.
Rohan Dennis (BMC) also gets a call up to the team having completed his first grand tour and will ride the 47.1km time trial event having impressed with third place on the final day Vuelta race against the clock.
A notable absentee from the men's team is Team Sky's Richie Porte who has ended his season early due to illness.
The six-person women's team will also be looking for a gold medal and with Tiffany Cromwell (Specialized-lululemon) and Rachel Neylan, they have riders capable of challenging for glory. Neylan makes her return to the Worlds having missed last year's event and the 2012 silver medalist will be hoping to go one better in 2014.
The women's road race is made up of seven laps of 18.2km. The race is 127.4km long with a total of over 2,100m of climbing.
Also selected for the team is Lizzie Williams (Jayco-AIS/Specialized Securitor), Carlee Taylor, Katrin Garfoot (both Orica-AIS) and Loren Rowney (Specialized-Lululemon). Garfoot will also contest the women's road race.
The riders selected for the U23 men's team will provide options for several scenarios with fourth place finisher from last year's Worlds, Caleb Ewan, a favourite should the race be decided in a bunch sprint after 182km of racing. Climbers Jack Haig and Rob Power will be hoping for impressive showings in their U23 Worlds debuts and will be helped by Alexander Clements, Samuel Spokes and Campbell Flakemore, who will contest the time trial.
Australian squad for the 2014 World Championships
Simon Clarke (Orica-GreenEdge)
Rohan Dennis (BMC) Road Race and Time Trial
Cadel Evans (BMC)
Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge)
Adam Hansen (Lotto-Belisol)
Heinrich Haussler (IAM Cycling)
Matt Hayman (Orica-GreenEdge)
Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge)
Rory Sutherland (Tinkoff-Saxo-Bank)
Tiffany Cromwell (Specialized-lululemon)
Katrin Garfoot (Orica-AIS) Road Race & Time Trial
Rachel Neylan (Jayco-AIS)
Loren Rowney (Specialized-Lululemon)
Carlee Taylor (Orica-AIS)
Lizzie Williams (Jayco-AIS/Specialized Securitor)
Under 23 Men
Alexander Clements (Jayco-AIS)
Caleb Ewan (Jayco-AIS)
Campbell Flakemore (Jayco-AIS / Avanti Racing) Road Race and Time Trial
Jack Haig (Jayco-AIS / Avanti Racing)
Robert Power (Jayco-AIS)
Samuel Spokes (Etixx Sports Nutrition)
Under 19 Men
Under 19 Women