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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, January 1, 2019

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Today's racing:

Latest completed racing:

Max Richeze nets Quick-Step Floors’ 77th victory of the year

Here's Richeze's Quick-Step team's report:

Quick-Step Floors have ended their record breaking 2018 in the fashion that they have become accustomed to, with the Argentinean winning Doble Difunta Correa on home turf.

Maximiliano Richeze took the victory in a thrilling finish, at the end of a 155km-long route from Caucete to Nueve de Julio, which the Argentinian star was riding as part of his preparations for the 37th Vuelta a San Juan, taking place in late January.

Max Richeze

Max Richeze winning stage four of the San Juan Vuelta.

Racing on a parcours similar to the one on which he won a Vuelta a San Juan stage in 2017 after spending the entire day in the breakaway, Richeze attacked from the bunch with three kilometers to go and managed to hold off the chasers in a nail-biting finale which saw the 35-year-old raise his arms aloft just as the others were closing the gap.

After the finish, Richeze said: "I'm very happy because this race means a lot to me and the Argentineans riders. I hope it could be a good kick for the new season to come. It is an historic race, that Argentina is so proud of. I don't get to race here very often, so to do so and to win makes me very proud. It's an amazing way to end the season and I want to wish a happy new year to my fans in Argentina and all around the world!"

Mitchelton-Scott women ready for redemption at 2019 Australian Championships

Here's the team's update:

Mitchelton-Scott will kick start the new year in Ballarat, with the Australian Championships the team’s first official racing of the 2019 season.

Despite their most successful season in history, Mitchelton-SCOTT women walked away with no national titles in 2018 and are ready for redemption when racing begins this week.

The Criterium championship, in the heart of Ballarat on Friday evening, is followed by the road race on Sunday morning at Buninyong. A scheduling change will see the time trial moved to the final event of the championships, taking place the following Tuesday.

Friday, 4 January - Criterium:

Jessica Allen
Alexandra Manly
Sarah Roy
Amanda Spratt

Amanda Spratt

Amanda Spratt will be riding the Australian criterium championships.

Mitchelton-SCOTT women will race with a small but strong team of four riders in the criterium, including two former winners in Sarah Roy and Jessica Allen.4

The team won’t rely on numbers but with a range of styles, have an option for every race scenario. The key will be to conserve energy and pick the right move.

Sarah Roy:
“The nationals criterium is always a fun, hard hit out with a great atmosphere in Ballarat. The course can be tough going up that long drag 40 times and although it’s typical to see a sprint finish there I dare say it might not be the case this year and things could get tricky for the three of us. 

“From following the Aussie domestic racing throughout the season, I can see there are some fierce riders lining up who aren’t afraid to go for it. It’ll be my first race since the world championships, I haven’t done a single club crit so I am nervous - I always get the most nervous before this one out of all the races in the season but we have a well-drilled team racing there so it will be a good evening.”

Martin Vestby:
“We have a small team at the start, but we have some different type of riders and should be able to cover most situations. The Criterium is not the most important race of the championships, but if we can use our strengths and play it a bit smart we should be able to go for the victory. A crit like this will also be a good way for some of the girls to open the legs before the road race on Sunday.

“With the small numbers we have to adjust our strategy a bit, play it smart and not waist any energy. It will be a lot more pressure on the few who are at the start and we can’t afford to be a step behind.”

Sunday, 6 January - Road Race:

Jessica Allen
Grace Brown
Gracie Elvin
Lucy Kennedy
Alexandra Manly
Sarah Roy
Amanda Spratt

Mitchelton-SCOTT women have claimed five of the seven Australian road race championships since the team’s inception, courtesy of Amanda Spratt, Gracie Elvin and Katrin Garfoot.

But the squad walked away empty handed in 2018 and return to Ballarat this week to try to right that wrong for 2019.

Gracie Elvin:
“Nationals is always such a special race for myself and most riders. Wearing the champion’s jersey two years in a row was something I will cherish forever, and it has definitely spoiled me as I want to have it every year!

“It’s always hard for our team because we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to win and bring the jersey to Europe even though it’s not a period of the year that we want to peak our fitness. It’s a fine balance between racing our best in Australia and being able to maintain form throughout the long European season, but it’s a challenge we accept every year because the green and gold jersey is so special to us. 

“We missed it in the team in 2018 but were all stoked for our friend Shannon Malseed to win and honour it. We will be as hungry as ever to get it back for this year and have plenty of riders who are capable of earning it.

“There are quite a few strong riders outside of our team that race domestically and professionally so it’s not going to be easy for us, and it will definitely be a very exciting race! I am really excited to race hard and see where my fitness is at after a good couple of months of pre-season training. Bring it on!”

Gracie Elvin

Gracie Elvin

Martin Vestby:
“As the big Australian professional team and with our Australian sponsors, riders and profile, it’s no secret the road race title is very important to us.

I feel that during the 2018 season many of our riders developed a lot and we have more riders than ever before who can finish the job off. We need to put our self in the positions where we can win from and with riders with different strengths we should have riders who can cover most situations.”

Tuesday, 8 January - Time Trial:

Grace Brown
Gracie Elvin
Lucy Kennedy

The race against the clock has been a one women show for the past three years with Katrin Garfoot clearly showing she was the strongest in recent years. With Garfoot now retired, the top step of the podium is free for a new champion to begin a new future for Australian women in the time trial event.

An impressive second in 2018, and having shown significant improvement throughout the season, Lucy Kennedy leads the charge for Mitchelton-SCOTT, with new recruit Grace Brown and experienced campaigner Gracie Elvin right behind her.

Lucy Kennedy:
“My second place last year came as a little bit of a surprise and gave me some confidence in my potential in the time trial, which I've never particularly focused on.

“I've spent a bit more time on the TT bike this pre-season as well gaining experience during the TTT work we did as a team in the 2018 season. I hope that this translates to an improved performance at nationals.

“Several riders were really close together last year behind Katrin, so I think it will be a very closely contested title this year. It's a discipline I'm still learning about, but I'm very motivated to try and win my first national title.”

Martin Vestby:
“I feel we have a good chance to do really well with all three of our starters.

“Both Kennedy and Brown had strong rides last year. Kennedy have developed a lot during the 2018 season and got stronger, whilst Brown is new to the team but has some strong time trial skills and for sure will want to prove her spot in the team. Gracie Elvin didn’t race last year but showed some strong rides during the TTT worlds and build up.

“Good pacing and to be able to leave everything out on the course will make a good ride. Then the results will be the consequence of the hard work, effort and contribution they have put into this.”

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