WHEN it comes to masters cycling in Australia, there are few bigger names than Shane Miller.
And if you are talking time trials, then you need to look no further than the five-time Australian Masters champion.
Miller is one of more than 500 riders set to descend on Ballarat this week for the 2014 Cycling Australia Masters Road National Championships.
The four-day event will start on Thursday with the 20-kilometre time trial, before the criterium around Victoria Park on Friday and the road race in Buninyong at the weekend.
A record 800 entries have been received from every state and territory in Australia, including former world masters road champion Roy Clark, 1988 Olympian Stephen Fairless and former pro tour rider Tom Leaper.
For the first day of action, however, a lot of the hype will be surrounding Miller and whether he can win his sixth consecutive national time trial title.
The St Kilda Cycling Club rider currently competes in the masters 2 division (riders aged 35-39), having won three titles in the masters 1 division, including the last time the event was held in Ballarat in 2011.
His wife, Veronica Micich, was born and bred in Ballarat and will be competing in the women’s masters 1 division.
Together, the pair estimate they have ridden the Burrumbeet course at least 15 times in preparation.
“I’ve had a really good lead-up. All you can do is control your own ride and your own preparation,” Miller said.
“My preparation is to the point of being obsessive and coming to Ballarat, it is almost my second home.”
For Micich, who missed out on competing in 2011 after being hit be a van just three days before the event, it will be her first chance to compete in the nationals on home turf.
She went to school at Loreto College and studied at University of Ballarat before moving to Melbourne.
“It takes some of the stress off when you’re not really travelling all that far and you get to stay in your old house in your own bed,” Micich said.
Cycling Victoria general manager Kipp Kaufman said he looked forward to hosting the championships again in Ballarat.
“Cycling Victoria are delighted to be hosting the masters road nationals again this year,” he said. “Ballarat is a fantastic location for the championships, and we’re particularly excited to be providing riders with the opportunity to compete on the famous Buninyong road race circuit.
“It promises to be a great four days.”
AT A GLANCE
Australian Masters Road
When: Thursday to Sunday
Where: Burrumbeet, Ballarat, Buninyong
PROGRAM ON THURSDAY
All individual time trials from 11am
20-kilometre, starting and finishing in Burrumbeet
Criteriums from 9.30am-3.30pm around Victoria Park
SATURDAY AND SUNDAY
Road races, 8.30am-4pm both days at Buninyong
BALLARAT RIDERS ON THURSDAY
Robert Braszell, masters 8, 12.39pm
Guy Falla, masters 7, 12.44pm
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