Reigning road race champion Amanda Spratt will miss next month's FedUni AusCycling Road National Championships in Ballarat.
Spratt will instead be in Europe continuing a pre-season training program.
The New South Wales rider made the call to stay in Europe at the end of last year with COVID-19 restrictions making international travel difficult.
Spratt had an injury-interrupted end to last year, suffering concussion and damaging a shoulder - issues which forced her out of the world championships.
Her absence will change the complexion of the national elite women's road race championship at Buninyong on Sunday, February 7, which is the last day of the five-day nationals.
Despite the two being major rivals, Sarah Gigante is disappointed that Spratt will be missing. "I like to race the best of the best."
However, Gigante is not expecting the absence of the three-time national road race champion to make it all that easier to secure a second title.
She said most of Spratt's BikeExchange teammates had returned from Europe and would be riding the nationals.
Gigante, who rides for the United States-base Team TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank, said BikeExchange would still be hard to beat with the likes of former national time trial champion Grace Brown and Lucy Kennedy.
The championships start with two days of time trials and then move into the criteriums in Ballarat's CDB before finishing with two days of road races at Buninyong.