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Australian teams revealed for home Road Worlds in Wollongong

Grace Brown and Michael Matthews seem Australia's best chances of a rainbow jersey on home soil.

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After the announcement was delayed by a few days due to rider protests, AusCycling has revealed its teams for the upcoming Wollongong Road World Championships on home soil.

Grace Brown and Amanda Spratt will headline the women’s road race team while Giro d’Italia winner Jai Hindley and 2015 Worlds silver medalist Michael Matthews will headline the elite men’s road squad.

On the women’s side, Spratt is lining up for her 10th appearance having twice been on the podium in a Worlds road race. At the other end of the spectrum, Oceania road champion Josie Talbot will make her Worlds debut. They’ll be joined by Commonwealth Games gold medalists Brown and Georgia Baker, plus Sarah Roy, Alex Manly (also on debut), and Brodie Chapman.

“This was a very difficult selection as we have such a big and talented pool of athletes to select from,” Australian Cycling Team elite road coordinator Rory Sutherland said.

Brown and Baker will race the individual time trial.

Notable omissions from the elite women’s team include Rachel Neylan and Sarah Gigante. While a rainbow jersey will be awarded to the first U23 rider across the line in the combined elite/U23 women’s race for the first time, Australia is not fielding any riders that are eligible for that competition. Sutherland pointed to the difficulty of splitting the team’s focus as the reason for that decision.

“While it is a step in the right direction for U23 women, I would really like to see it independently from the women’s race,” he said. “As I said, it does complicate things when there are no more quotas and then you’re just getting to the finish line and you have to figure out, ‘OK, is this U23 rider in front of the other one?’ Or ‘where was this athlete?’ And how do you do that in a team situation, which is really complicated when you’re trying to win the race as a whole. It’s like splitting your objectives within a race.”

Elite women’s squad

  • Georgia Baker (Northern Districts Cycling Club, TAS – debut)
  • Grace Brown (St Kilda CC, VIC – third appearance)
  • Brodie Chapman (University of Queensland CC, QLD – fourth appearance) 
  • Alexandra Manly (Central Districts CC, SA – debut) 
  • Sarah Roy (Parklife CC, NSW – sixth appearance) 
  • Amanda Spratt (Penrith CC, NSW – 10th appearance) 
  • Josie Talbot (Camden CC, NSW – debut) 

On the elite men’s side, Matthews and Hindley will be joined by last year’s U23 Worlds time trial silver medalist Luke Plapp (the current Australian road champion) who will make his senior Worlds debut and will take part in both the road race and time trial. Two-time time trial world champ Rohan Dennis was unavailable for selection due to what Sutherland described as “a family obligation”.

The men’s squad will also include Tour de France stage winners Ben O’Connor (on debut) and Simon Clarke, plus Luke Durbridge, road captain Heinrich Haussler, and Nick Schultz.

“Winning the under-23 world title on home soil was really a dream come true coming into the pros,” Matthews said of his win in Geelong 12 years ago. “Now, having it back in Australia again when I’m really at the top of my game is a dream come true.

“We have a great team for a course like this. This course suits Australians really well, for the races that we grew up doing. I think it was quite difficult for the selectors to put it down to a group of eight guys, but they’ve done a great job and I think the team’s going to be super strong. 

“We have a lot of guys for different sort of areas of the race, and hopefully we can play the race into our favour and then do our thing in the final.” 

As reported earlier today, Caleb Ewan has not been selected.

Elite men

  • Simon Clarke (Carnegie Caulfield CC, VIC – 11th appearance)
  • Luke Durbridge (Midland CC, WA – eighth appearance)
  • Heinrich Haussler (Inverell CC, NSW – sixth appearance) 
  • Jai Hindley (Midland CC, WA – second appearance) 
  • Michael Matthews (Vikings CC, ACT – 10th appearance) 
  • Ben O’Connor (Peel District CC, WA – debut) 
  • Lucas Plapp (Brunswick CC, VIC – debut)
  • Nicholas Schultz (Sunshine Coast CC, QLD – fourth appearance) 

The U23 men’s road race squad will feature five riders that are currently representing Australia at the Tour de l’Avenir.

U23 men’s road race

  • Matthew Dinham (Manly Warringah CC, NSW)
  • Dylan George (Manly Warringah CC, NSW)
  • Dylan Hopkins (Canberra CC, ACT) 
  • Jensen Plowright (Hawthorn CC, VIC) 
  • Rudy Porter (Carnegie Caulfield CC, VIC) 

It’s not yet clear who will race the U23 men’s time trial. Likewise, the team for the mixed team time trial will be decided closer to the event, with Sutherland saying that many riders had put their hand up for selection.

The U19 squads were announced earlier this year and include the following:

Junior women 

  • Talia Appleton (Mansfield Mt Buller Cycling Club/Carnegie Caulfield Cycling Club, VIC)
  • Belinda Bailey (Bendigo & District Cycling Club, VIC)
  • Isabelle Carnes (Balmoral Cycling Club, QLD) 
  • Bronte Stewart (Tolland Cycling Club, NSW) 
  • Lucinda Stewart (Carnegie Caulfield Cycling Club, VIC) 

Junior men 

  • Oscar Chamberlain (Canberra Cycling Club, ACT)
  • William Eaves (City of Burnie Cycling Club, TAS)
  • Hamish McKenzie (Northern Districts Cycling Club, TAS) 
  • Cameron Rogers (Canberra Cycling Club, ACT) 

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