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“With my track record of the last two years I haven’t had the best of luck in January, so I’m a little reserved in saying I’d be the one to beat,” Dennis said, “but for me the time trial is the most impor...

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15.11.2014 @ 08:38 Posted by Aleksandra Górska

The 2015 Mars Cycling Australia Road National Championships will begin with a bang in the heart of Ballarat, on Wednesday 7 January, with the twilight criterium to be followed by live music.

 

And a new course, starting and finishing in Buninyong, will test the field in the individual time trial, on Thursday 8 January.

 

There isn’t a flat stretch of road on the course and the turn-around point is in the shadows of a wind farm, which will ensure tough conditions.

 

While the weekend’s road races will feature Cadel Evans - in the third last race of his career - trying to go one better than 2014 when he was second to Simon Gerrans, who is hungry to defend his title.

 

Cycling Australia CEO, Nick Green, said the change in the schedule aims to get the championships off to a big start and continue to raise the standard of the event.

 

“Part of what has raised the prestige of this event has been the significant contribution made by Ballarat Regional Tourism and the City of Ballarat,” Green said.

 

“When Robbie McEwen won on the Mt Buninyong course in 2002 the crowd could be counted in its hundreds.

 

“Earlier this year when we saw Simon Gerrans, Cadel Evans and Richie Porte on the final podium the crowd was estimated at 25,000, and the race was watched live on television by many more around the country.

 

“And we’re delighted that Mars, which is a significant part of the Ballarat community, continues as the naming rights sponsor of the event.”

 

Rohan Dennis (BMC), who finished fifth in the individual time trial at the 2014 UCI Road World Championships, is anxiously looking forward to the new time trial course.

 

“With my track record of the last two years I haven’t had the best of luck in January, so I’m a little reserved in saying I’d be the one to beat,” Dennis said, according to Cycling Australia official website, “but for me the time trial is the most important.”

 

The elite men’s road race and time trial has been won by an Orica-GreenEDGE rider for the past three editions. Dennis and his BMC teammates are out to end their run of success.

 

“The road race will be Orica-GreenEDGE versus everyone else,” he said.

 

“We’ll have a good team, with Cadel (Evans) and Campbell (Flakemore). I’ll talk to Cadel about the tactics and I’d be happy to lay it on the line for him.

 

“We’ll have to take a gamble and stick to our guns while they’ve got a lot more cards to paly.”

 

Dennis labeled Simon Gerrans (who ended 2014 in third place in the world rankings) as the one to beat with his Orica-GreenEDGE teammate Simon Clarke, Sky’s Richie Porte and Cadel Evans among the other big favourites.

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