Sprint king Caleb Ewan has missed the cut for next month’s UCI Road World Championships in Wollongong as Australia confirmed its squad on Friday.
As reported, Ewan paid the price for an unhappy 2022 season as Giro d’Italia winner Jai Hindley and 2015 silver medallist Michael Matthews instead headlined the men’s team.
Luke Plapp, Ben O’Connor, Simon Clarke, Luke Durbridge, Heinrich Haussler and Nick Schultz round out the squad while former world champion Rohan Dennis was unavailable for selection due to family reasons.
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The squad was originally set to be named on Tuesday but was delayed after two cyclists appealed their non-selections.
“This was a very difficult selection as we have such a big and talented pool of athletes to select from,” Australia’s elite road co-ordinator Rory Sutherland said.
“Athletes are always proud to race in the green and gold, doing so on home soil is a dream that probably comes once in a lifetime.
“I’m excited for the group that have been assembled and especially proud to have the junior riders return to the world championships after a few year’s absence.”
Australian cycling great Kate Bates told Wide World of Sports that sprint specialist Ewan would likely struggle to survive the new Wollongong course if the tempo was high.
But Bates tipped the ultimate all-rounder Matthews to shine.
Matthews won the under-23 road race at the 2010 world championships in Geelong.
“Winning the under-23 world title on home soil was really a dream come true coming into the pros,” Matthews said.
“Now, having it back in Australia again when I’m really at the top of my game is a dream come true. I really want to make the most of it – and have a great time – and hopefully stand on that top step.
“We’re going there 100 per cent for that goal – to win the medal for Australia. 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 favor and then do our thing in the final.”
Meanwhile, two changes have been made to Australia’s successful women’s squad from the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.
Gold medallists Georgia Baker and Grace Brown will feature alongside Birmingham teammates Sarah Roy, Alexandra Manly and Brodie Chapman.
Local hope Amanda Spratt and Josie Talbot round out the squad.
“Even more special is that it is a home world championships that covers roads I grew up training on,” Spratt said.
“My first ever senior worlds were in Geelong so I know how amazing it is to have this event on home soil and the impact it can have.
“I’m really excited when I look at the team we have and think it’s one of the overall strongest teams we have had in years.
“Alex and Grace, in particular, have had really strong results recently and put their hand up as our leaders, but I think our biggest strength will be having numbers in the final.”
- Simon Clarke (Carnegie Caulfield CC, VIC – 11th appearance*)
- Luke Durbridge (Midland CC, WA – 8th appearance)
- Heinrich Haussler (Inverell CC, NSW – 6th appearance)
- Jai Hindley (Midland CC, WA – 2nd 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 – 4th appearance)
- Georgia Baker (Northern Districts Cycling Club, TAS – debut*)
- Grace Brown (St Kilda CC, VIC – 3rd appearance)
- Brodie Chapman (University of Queensland CC, QLD – 4th appearance)
- Alexandra Manly (Central Districts CC, SA – debut)
- Sarah Roy (Parklife CC, NSW – 6th appearance)
- Amanda Spratt (Penrith CC, NSW – 10th appearance)
- Josie Talbot (Camden CC, NSW – debut)
- 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)
- 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)
- 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)
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