2018 Season Gets Underway at National Road Championships today 3rd of January

Sally Prowd | Wednesday, January 03, 2018

ACA – Ride Sunshine Coast are quietly confident of their chances going into their first official racing at this week’s Australian National Road Championship, following an impressive string of wins at the Tasmanian Christmas Carnivals.

Sam Welsford, Cameron Scott and Kelland O’Brien were dominant in the carnivals, between them cleaning up the four wheelraces, three criteriums and four scratch races on offer across the week-long carnival program.

Scott took a clean sweep of the three criteriums, with Welsford making it one-two for the team. Welsford took three from four wheelraces, all four scratch races and became the first ever rider to win three consecutive Burnie Wheelraces. And O’Brien cleaned up in the Devonport wheelrace, where he took an impressive victory over the field from scratch.

The National Road Championships get underway in Ballarat on 3 January, and ACA – Ride Sunshine Coast will field riders in all three events, including the criterium, time trial and road race.

The team’s campaign kicks off on 3 January at 15:30 AEDT, with young guns Mitch Wright and Elliot Schultz lining up for the U19 criterium. At 16:30 the U23 men take to the streets with a full squad including favourites Cameron Scott and Sam Welsford.

The U19 and U23 Time Trials are next up on the program, on 4 January. Kelland O’Brien is tipped as the one to watch in the U23 event, after he showed his form with a win in the Devonport Wheelrace on New Year’s Eve. The U19 event kicks off at 12:45, followed by the U23’s at 14:40.

The final event on the program is the road race, on Saturday 6 January, with the U19’s off at 11:30 for a 104.4km circuit race around the streets of Buninyong, and the U23’s taking on 139.2kms at 15:00. The team will field a full squad of eight in the U23 event, where Sam Welsford is an outside chance for the win, while defending champion Mitch Wright is highly favoured to take another win in the U19 division.

Welsford showed he’s in great form ahead of the Championship, dominating the track events at the Tasmanian carnivals.

“The Road Nationals will be the first time the team races together, so I’m keen to see what we can produce. I’ve got my eye on the criterium, but I’m also eager to see what I can do in the road race. All of the boys are riding well though, so I’m predicting some good results for the team,” said Welsford.

Team Director Ben Kersten said the team was prepared for a big start to the season.

“We’re super excited to be fielding such a great team at our first official events as the ACA – Ride Sunshine Coast. We have a few great medal chances across all events for the week and I am quietly confident of coming away with a medal,” said Kersten.

You can follow our results on Twitter and Instagram at @aca_cycling and on Facebook. Or follow the event’s live stream via SBS:

https://www.sbs.com.au/cyclingcentral/video/11819587988/LIVE-FedUni-RoadNats-Criteriums

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