2019 National Championships Preview

InForm TM Insight MAKE’s 2019 campaign gets underway at the FedUni Road Nationals in Buninyong next week.

The schedule is as follows:

Friday 4 January: U19, U23, Elite Criterium

Saturday 5 January: U19, U23 Road Race

Sunday 6 January: Elite Road Race

Monday 7 January: U19 Time Trial

Tuesday 8 January: U23, Elite Time Trial

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With the criteriums and the underage road races falling on back to back days, Sam Eddy, Pat Eddy and Ben Jones have opted to sit out the under 19 criterium, in a bid to keep their powder dry for the road race on Saturday.  

The under 23 group will arrive at the start line in Ballarat with a real focus on coming away from criterium with a medal. Cycling Australia Podium Potential Academy athletes Jarrad Drizners, Godfrey Slattery and Connor Leahy will headline team sheet and will be accompanied by David Williams, Tom McFarlane and William Moloney- Morton. The riders face 30 laps of a 1.1 kilometre course in the middle of Ballarat, with a slight uphill drag in final 300 meters of each lap. A finish that suits the quick, but strong riders. Traditionally a bunch kick, however, things have been known to get out of control with teams lacking organisation in the final stages of the under 23 criterium.

Nathan Elliott will be the lone ranger for InForm TM Insight MAKE in the Elite Men’s criterium.

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The under 19 group are a genuine chance of coming away with a medal in the 104.4 kilometre race around Mount Buninyong. Nine laps will likely thin out the herd, resulting in a small group or a solo rider arriving at the finish.

Pat Eddy shared his thoughts on how the race will pan out.

“I'd just like to be in the mix towards the end of the road race with an opportunity to either win or help Sam (Eddy) get up for a good result. I think the road race will sort out a lot of the under 19 riders, over 100 kilometres of racing, and riding up Mt Buninyong nine times in the heat can't be underestimated. If any more than 15 riders make it to the finish in the front group I'll be surprised,” Eddy said.

In the under 23 road race, InForm TM Insight MAKE will have the strongest team on paper. Tom Jones, Tom Benton, Rudy Porter and Carter Turnbull will join the criterium group to make a ten-rider strong team for the 11 lap, 127.6-kilometre test around Buninyong. In the past eight years, the biggest group to contest the finish is six riders. A genuine war of attrition is always the theme of the day and attention is required from the gun. In 2013, 30 riders went up the road in the first two laps and were never seen again. Stay alert early.

Rudy Porter discussed the benefits of having strength in numbers in the final laps.

“We have a talented group with many different style of riders for certain situations. I figure a break will eventually develop over the first couple of laps in which we should be represented in. If it’s a really hot day, I don’t see the break lasting, however, if we still have some good numbers coming into the final laps it will help a lot with covering moves or attacking the race ourselves, from which I’m sure any of us can end up with a good result,” Porter said.

Not unlike the criterium, Nathan Elliott will be the lone wolf, looking to sniff out the early break of the day.

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All three under 19 riders will pin the numbers on for the 21.6-kilometre time trial. An out and back, rolling parcour is the flavour of the day.   

Pat Eddy, who won the under 17 National Championship Time Trial in 2018 is hoping to make a seamless transition into the under 19 category.

“I think I can pull off a great result in the TT, hopefully a top five. I'm just hoping the hard work I've put in this summer will pay off,” Eddy said.

Luke Plapp, who was second at the under 19 World Championship Time Trial in 2018 has moved into the under 23 ranks for 2019. His first test will be against the clock in Buninyong. Plapp will head to the start ramp as one of the favourites for a medal, but a heavy track focus early in the summer has taken up the lion share of Plapp’s resources.

“After focusing on the track the last few months, it’s really hard to gauge how I’ll go in the TT. I haven’t had proper preparation, but in saying that, since doing the track work I’m feeling awesome and have got some speed in the legs that I haven’t had before,” Plapp said.

“Looking at some of the boys I expect to be around the mark, I’m thinking of Kelland O’Brien and Sam Jenner.”

Plapp will be joined by Turnbull, Williams, Benton, Porter, T Jones, and Moloney-Morton at the start house on January 8 for a shot at the green and gold stripes.

It all kicks off next Friday in the heart of Ballarat.