This article was originally published on Cyclingnews.com.
Australia has announced its five-man and three-woman Olympic road cycling team for the 2012 London Games.
Matt Goss earned his selection courtesy of his silver medal at the 2011 UCI Road World Championships in Copenhagen, and will make his Olympic debut. At the other end of the scale, Stuart O’Grady will be attending his sixth Olympics, having made his debut on the track in Barcelona in 1992. National champion Simon Gerrans will be well-suited to the 250km road race circuit, with its nine laps of Box Hill expected to create a select group to fight it out for the first medals of the London Games.
Cadel Evans meanwhile will be competing in his fourth Olympics having represented Australia in Beijing in 2008 and in mountain biking in Sydney in 2000 and 1996. He will join Michael Rogers in the individual time trial. Rogers made his Olympic debut in Sydney.
“This has been one of the most difficult team selections in Australia’s cycling history because we really have enough talent to field two teams of Olympic standard,” said Australian professional men’s coordinator and Athens Olympian Matt White.
“We have more than 30 Aussie riders in the ProTour and they’re major contributors to their respective teams,” he said. “It’s a great position to be in and we’re really pleased with the riders we’ll be putting on the start line.
“The team has a lot of experience with Stuey [O’Grady], Cadel [Evans], Mick [Rogers] and Simon [Gerrans] – all having raced at Olympics, or five Olympics in the case of Stuey. Matt [Goss] might be an Olympic debutant but he’s already notched up some solid ‘big race’ experience.
“The selectors have chosen a team based on our race strategies for London – but we won’t be going into detail about what those strategies are for obvious reasons. What I can say is that we’re definitely in the hunt to challenge for the top step of the podium.”
For the women’s team, all three riders will be making their debut with Shara Gillow lining up for both the time trial and the road race. Chloe Hosking and Amanda Spratt will join her in the road race.
“I always ride to win,” said Gillow, the 2011 Australian Female Road Cyclist of the Year and Giro Donne stage-winner.
“I have high expectations. I love riding time trials and this one is one I would love to win gold for Australia in. In the road race I will be working hard to achieve our team goal and follow the plan we go in with.”
Gillow has cycling in her blood with her father David having competed for Zimbabwe at the 1980 Moscow Games.
“Selection for me is an honour and a wonderful goal to have achieved. I think every cyclist would have the Olympics as one of their major career goals.”
Mens’ team: Cadel Evans, Simon Gerrans, Matthew Goss, Stuart O’Grady and Michael Rogers
Womens’ team: Shara Gillow, Chloe Hosking and Amanada Spratt