Columbia-HTC will field six riders, including four Australians, at January’s Australian Open Road Championships, according to race organiser Caribou Publications. The ProTour team will be looking to avoid a repeat of 2009 where it lost the title to Drapac-Porsche’s Peter Macdonald, despite having two of its riders in the three-man sprint for victory.
After finishing second in the road race this year Michael Rogers will return for another attempt at the title and to defend his time trial title. Tasmania’s Matthew Goss will join Rogers at the Ballarat race and should prove useful in the team’s title bid. The pair will be joined by compatriots Mark Renshaw and Leigh Howard.
While that quartet alone is a strong showing, Columbia-HTC will also field German champions Andre Greipel and Bert Grabsch. The duo will be in Australia preparing for the ProTour opening Tour Down Under, to be held in Adelaide later that month.
Race organiser John Craven was excited to announce Columbia-HTC’s strong presence at the event. “The field quality so far is shaping as the best ever, which is extremely exciting,” said Craven.
Columbia-HTC will also have a rider present in the elite women’s race, with Germany’s Judith Arndt returning to contest the Victorian event. Arndt contested this year’s event, finishing in 12th place.