Gerrans aiming to keep Australian road title

Simon Gerrans will head to Ballarat in January with the aim of winning his third Australian national road race title, but if he can't win then he wants it to be one of his Orica-GreenEdge teammates.

"I'd love to wear this jersey for another season," Gerrans said, according to AAP. "The big priority for myself and Orica-GreenEdge is that the jersey remains in the team."

This year the championship race was a hard-fought battle between Gerrans, Cadel Evans (BMC), and Richie Porte (Team Sky), but next year's race will be the third to last for Evans, who will retire following his own Great Ocean Road Race that takes place on February 1.

Gerrans is not about to give Evans a parting gift in the fight for the green and gold jersey. "It was a pretty hotly contested battle this year and it wasn't just down to Cadel and myself," he said. "It would be a real shame for someone to win the national title, get the green and gold jersey, and then retire. We wouldn't see it for the next 12 months.

"The priority is obviously to get it to myself or one of my teammates but, otherwise, I think it's great to see the Australian champion racing in Europe."

Gerrans expects the race to be more than just a two-rider fight, however. "It's more than just a two-rider race, for sure," he said. "There are many, many guys capable of winning this national title."

The Australian Road National Championships begin on January 7 with the criterium for U23 Men, U23 and Elite Women and Elite Men in Ballarat. On January 8 the same fields will compete for the individual time trial title in Buninyong. The U23 Men and Elite and U23 Women's road races take place on January 10 followed by the Elite Men on January 11.

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