Heinrich Haussler (Garmin-Cervélo), Michael Matthews (Rabobank) and Leigh Howard (HTC-Highroad) form the rest of the five-man team that will take part in the London-Surrey Cycle Classic, which takes place over the London 2012 road race course.
“It might be a test event but we're definitely going to win and with this group we've got the talent to do that," Cycling Australia Professional Men's Road Coordinator, Matt White said.
Haussler makes his long-awaited Australian debut in the event, while at the opposite end of the spectrum, O’Grady’s inclusion will raise his hopes of making a sixth Olympic appearance in London next year. The 37-year-old made his Olympic debut 19 years ago, winning a silver medal in the team pursuit in Barcelona.
Milan-San Remo winner Matt Goss will be looking not only to reconnoitre the London 2012 course but to stake a claim for leadership of the Australian team at the Worlds in Copenhagen.
"All five can do the job and we're going to win in London in August and then we're heading to Denmark in September to win again at the World Championships,” White said.
Although the race is only 140km in length rather than the full 250km that the bunch will face at the Olympics in twelve months’ time, White believes that the London-Surrey Cycle Classic is worth taking seriously.
"The test event provides an opportunity for us to take a close look at the course under race conditions and, even though it's a shorter race than the Olympic race will be, it's the only chance our coaches and staff will have before next year's race for medals," he pointed out. "We'll take advantage of that to collect as much info as we can."
The test event will be raced without radio earpieces, and White believes that such an experience should help his riders by the time the Olympics come around.
“They need to understand that next year's Olympic road race will be tricky as it's only five men and unless you're next to each other there's no way to communicate,” he warned.
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