Riding in the FedUni AusCycling Road National Championships in Ballarat is like a homecoming for reigning elite women's time trial champion Sarah Gigante.
It is no wonder given the Melbourne 20-year-old has won eight titles at the championships in the Ballarat CBD, and in and around Buninyong over the past three years.
And she cannot wait to attempt to add to her tally at the rescheuled nationals on February 3-7.
Gigante spoke at the launch of the nationals at Federation University at Mt Helen on Thursday about her desire to again contest the titles
Her love affair with the championships in Ballarat began in 2018 when she completed a clean sweep of the under-19 women's criterium, time trial and road race crowns.
She returned a year later and again claimed three gold medals - this time in the under-23 time trial and road race, and elite road race which made the cycling world sit and take notice.
Gigante then last year completed the under-23 and elite time trial double.
Gigante said the success she had enjoyed made her feel like she had a homeground advantage in the nationals.
"It helps even more so when my aunt and uncle live on the Buninyong hill where we contest the road race.
"I just love coming back every year.
"I have just had an absolute blast here at Buninyong and Ballarat. It's my favourite race," she said
Gigante said looking forward the nationals had kept her going during the COVID-19 lockdown, which she spent most of confined to indoors in Melbourne owing to the 5km travel limit.
"For 14 weeks I hardly went out, but i trained really hard. I set a countdown on my phone as to how many days it was to the nationals."
She said she been initially disappointed when the nationals had been put back a month from their traditional early January timeslot.
"(The countdown) got to 83 days and then it went out to 110. In hindsight it has given more more preparation time."
Gigante said she could not remember being so excited about racing. "After so much uncertainty It's almost feels surreal that we're going to be racing.
"I'd love to racing tomorrow if I could because I love it so much," she said.
WorldTour rider James Whelan joined Gigante at Thursday's launch.
Although coming off a limited program, Whelan did get the opportunity to ride in the Giro d'Italia.
Whelan said the Buninyong circult had been instrumental in him launching his professional career, having finished second in the under-23 road race in 2018.
The championships will feature elite, under 23, under 19, para-cycling, masters, club and intellectual impairment categories.
AusCycling has confirmed spectators will be able to attend.
However, the numbers permitted in certain areas along the courses will be reviewed in order to adhere to social distancing requirements.
Viewing sections will be open on a first-in, best-dressed basis.
A new live site at Federation University will provide an opportunity for spectators to enjoy the race on the big screen and be close to the action to see the riders tackle the high speed and technical part of the course.
AusCycling has also announced the elite road races will feature an enhanced broadcast agreement, including domestic coverage on SBS and FoxSports Australia, and for the first time international broadcast coverage through the Global Cycling Network.