World class field set to hit Buninyong

THE term 'world-class field' has been bandied around a lot in regards to the upcoming Cycling Australia Road National Championships, and with good reason too, given the considerable talent that will converge on Ballarat in early January will now feature one Cadel Evans.

The championships, held across the Ballarat region from January 8-12, will see several of the world's best compete across three major disciplines.

Events will include the time-trial, criterium and women's and under-23 road races, but all interest lies with-in the men's road race around Buninyong's famed circuit.

"Every year we find that the blue ribbon events in the men's, women's and under-23 road races always draw the deepest fields and best riders," Mars Cycling Australia Road National Championships race director Sean Muir said.

"Even Cadel Evans, who is a fantastic time-trialer, has registered for the road race because it's the ambition of every Australian cyclist to be able to wear the green and gold jersey of the national champion.

"Evans, from team BMC, filed a registration for the championships just one day before the cut-off date (last night), and is one of many household names to vie for the highly sougSunht after title of national champion.

Defending champion Luke Durbridge and 2012 champion Simon Gerrans are just two of 10 Orica-GreenEDGE riders who will feature, while Drapac, Australia's only professional continental cycling team, has entered a staggering 13 riders across the five days.

"There is a very strong line-up of national teams and a healthy sprinkling of international squads as well," Muir said.

This year's Australian Tour de France hero Richie Porte and Chriosh Hazlewood did an admirable job to limit the Stars, taking 3-20 including the scalps of Brad Hodgs Sutton will represent powerhouse team Sky Pro Cycling.

Porte, 28, was an integral part of a winning Sky outfit at this year's Tour de France, while sprinter Sutton is a past stage winner at the Vuelta a Espana.Garmin Sharp, Tinkoff-Saxo and Belkin will also feature riders throughout the championships.

The women's road race will several high-profile athletes riding, with past champions Gracie Elvin and Amanda Spratt of the Orica-AIS team leading the charge.Kimberley Wells, the 2012 criterium champion will also return, while Shara Gillow will attempt to make it four titles in a row in the women's time trial category.michael.pollock@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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