THE OPPORTUNITY to race for the green and gold jersey in his hometown is something Pat Shaw enjoys every year, with the Ballarat rider eager as ever for the Mars Cycling Australia Road National Championships to get under way on Wednesday.
The Huon Salmon/Genesys-Wealth Advisers team captain values the chance to ride in front of his family and friends and is expecting thousands of fans to line the time trial, criterium and road race courses across the five days of titles.
“It does help you a lot, having a lot of people out there cheering for you,” Ballarat’s Shaw said.
“I think it is great that the community has got such an important sporting event here in Ballarat.
“To see the popularity grow every year with more and more people coming out to watch the racing is fantastic,” the 26-year-old said.
Shaw is coming off another big year. Despite being impacted by illness early in the Australian domestic road season and injury after a race fall late, he still played a major hand in his team taking out the National Road Series.
Shaw says living in Ballarat helps his preparation for the national, in which he will contest the criterium in Sturt Street on Thursday night and a new-look road race at Buninyong next Sunday.
“I have had better preparation than I have ever done before for the road nationals.
“I’ve put more hours in on the bike and I’ve looked after myself on the healthy eating front. I’ve done everything in my power and now I’ve just got to hope that the guys lift me a little bit and I get some luck,” Shaw said.
Joining Shaw from the Huon Salmon/Genesys-Wealth Advisers team for the criterium and men’s road race will be defending criterium champion Anthony Giacoppo from Western Australia, Tasmania trio of Tom Robinson, Jai Crawford and Nathan Earle, Kane Walker (Victoria), Ben Dyball (NSW) and Jonathan Lovelock (Victoria).
Pat Shaw finished 58th in stage one of the Herald Sun Tour from Sunbury to Bendigo yesterday.
He finished 11 minutes, 27 seconds behind stage winner and teammate Aaron Donnelly over 147.7km in scorching heat.
Donnelly will contest the under-23 time trial, criterium and road race at the nationals.
Ballarat’s Jay Bourke was 34th yesterday – 5:03 off the pace. Donnelly leads the tour by 14 seconds. Bourke is 36th (5:44 down) and Shaw 63rd (12.03) of the 104 riders still in the four-day event.
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