As just one of a 17-strong GreenEdge line up in the elite men’s road race at the Mars Cycling Australia Road National Championships mid next month in Ballarat, Stuart O’Grady is giving himself a real shot of winning a green and gold jersey for the second time in his prestigious career.
O’Grady won the title in 2003, aged 29, in aggressive style from GreenEdge teammate Allan Davis and the now-retired Pat Jonker in a hard-fought sprint to the finish.
In 2012 and in their first season in the UCI WorldTour, GreenEdge has been vocal in regards to their ambition to have the green and gold bands on one of their shoulders with the team’s general manager Shayne Bannan admitted it would be “disappointing” should the team fail to come away with the win.
“It would be a bloody proud moment to wear the green and gold colours again,” O’Grady said. “It’s been a long time since I had the honour of wearing the Australian jersey in the big European races and I’m sure I would do it justice again.
“It was a really special victory for me when I won the title in 2003.”
The form honed on the recent two-week GreenEdge training camp in Canberra and Melbourne might be the difference for O’Grady in 2012, a position he hasn’t been fortunate enough to find himself in over recent seasons. Reports suggest that O’Grady’s hard work has continued now he’s home in Adelaide, training up to five hours daily in the renowned Willunga Hill area.
“I have not done it much because I have not had the form or injury-free lead-up to win it,” he said of the years following his 2003 win.
“Lately, I have been able to put in some really hard training. It’s probably cram training and I am feeling pretty good.”
The Australian 163.2 km elite men's road race will take place on Sunday, January 8.