Team BikeExchange roll into Buninyong for the Australian championships this week looking to retain the coveted green and gold jersey for another year.
The squad walked away with both the time trial and road race titles in 2020 as Luke Durbridge went back-to-back in the TT and Cameron Meyer ended his 12-year quest for the road race crown. The duo will be back in 2021, with Durbridge fresh off a stage win and the overall victory at the Santos Festival of Cycling.
Last year’s road race runner-up Lucas Hamilton will be in action in all three events, while former national road champion Alex Edmondson will ride the criterium and in Sunday’s ‘main event’. Czech Tour winner Damien Howson will also be in the hunt for a jersey, another former second place finisher in the Team BikeExchange ranks.
Fast finisher Kaden Groves takes on Friday night’s criterium as he looks to go one better than his silver medal finish in last year’s event and the 21-year-old will have a strong team alongside him on Sturt Street.
Luke Durbridge (AUS, 29) (TT, Criterium & Road Race)
Lucas Hamilton (AUS, 24) (TT, Criterium & Road Race)
Damien Howson (AUS, 28) (Criterium & Road Race)
Alex Edmondson (AUS, 27) (Criterium & Road Race)
Kaden Groves (AUS, 21) (Criterium & Road Race)
Cameron Meyer (AUS, 33) (Road Race)
Luke Durbridge (2020 Time Trial Champion):
“I don’t take it on as pressure [being defending champion], obviously you can’t underestimate it, you can’t go in thinking it is a given win. If I think of the years before when you hadn’t won, you were really hungry, really, really desperate, pushed yourself to the absolute limit to get that victory. That is how you won, so I can’t just go there and expect that it is going to happen like that, that is just not the way it is going to be.
“When you are the defending champion, everybody wants to take it off you, so I think you have to be, not nervous but just respect that people do want to beat you and that you are the benchmark, so make sure you go out there and give it everything because if you don’t you will definitely get it taken away.”
“You can’t beat a bit of confidence going into a race, once you have a victory early on you can sometimes roll with it and go from one victory for the next, so I am really looking forward to just taking the confidence and form into next week.”
Cameron Meyer (2020 Road Race Champion):
“It’s been an honour to wear the green and gold this past 12 months. Obviously due to the Covid pandemic I didn’t get as many race days to show it off as I would have liked, but the memory of last year’s win will always be special.
“My form is pretty good heading into the Championships. I think it will be hard to replicate what I was able to do last year but like most years I should be up amongst the front group and with a strong team I’m sure we can produce a good result for Team BikeExchange.
“I think there is always pressure at the National Championships and I always put pressure on myself for the event. I am very passionate about the race and always want to perform to my best so being the defending champion and having some consistent performances on this course over many years I have the expectation of being at the front of the race when it matters.”
Australian Championships 2021 Race Details:
Wednesday, 3rd Feb: Federation University, 37.5km (Time Trial)
Friday, 5th Feb: Ballarat, 44km/40 Laps (Criterium)
Sunday, 7th Feb: Buninyong – Buninyong, 185.6km (Road Race)
Photo Courtesy of Getty Images.