The Australian Institute of Sport confirmed their support for Australian women’s road cycling at the launch of the 2013 ORICA-AIS team in Canberra. The members of the ORICA-AIS team enjoyed a rousing reception at the AIS as they were presented yesterday to the media and cycling supporters.
AIS director Matt Favier said the partnership between ORICA-GreenEDGE, Cycling Australia and the AIS provides this team with a great opportunity for success on the world stage.
‘When we announced Australia’s Winning Edge late last year we set some ambitious but achievable targets for Australia’s international performance in world championships, Olympics, Paralympics, and Commonwealth games,’ he said. ‘We expect that both track and road cycling will make a significant contribution to achieving those goals and the ORICA-AIS team will play a leading role in supporting our very best cyclists.’
Mr Favier said the squad is currently in camp at the AIS, working with their sports scientists and other support staff to ensure the best possible preparation prior to the start of the 2013 season in the Tour of Qatar.
The ten-member squad includes recently crowned national road champion Gracie Elvin as well as experienced international riders Loes Gunnewijk (Netherlands – team captain), Emma Johansson (Sweden), and Sungeun Gu (Republic of Korea).
Orica-AIS head cycling coach Martin Barras is very excited about the three international cyclists that have been included in his lineup and the impact this will have on developing Australia’s next generation of champions.
‘The international cyclists on our team are truly world class. Each brings unique expertise to the team that will be shared with our top Australian cyclists,’ said Barras. ‘I believe that the composition of this team is well balanced giving us great tactical versatility for the races.’
London Olympians Annette Edmondson (Bronze medal) Shara Gillow, Melissa Hoskins, and Amanda Spratt are in the squad with Tiffany Cromwell and Jessie Maclean completing the impressive lineup of accomplished riders.
General manager ORICA-GreenEDGE Shayne Bannan confirmed they were extremely proud of this project. ‘The women’s team had a dream debut last year and everything looks to be set up for another great year,’ said Bannan. ‘We’re really keen to be part of developing the talented Australian riders and having them next to some of the most experienced international athletes is a great asset.’
Cycling Australia’s performance director Kevin Tabotta said the partnership between ORICA-GreenEDGE, the AIS and Cycling Australia in supporting an Australian professional women’s team has taken years to put together but the outcome for cycling in Australia has been worth the wait. ‘ORICA-AIS have exceeded expectations during their first year on the world circuit in 2012, with more than 20 victories plus a silver medal in the Team Time Trial at the UCI Road World Championships,’ he said. ‘The team has really heightened the profile of women’s cycling in Australia and has extended the elite athlete pathway. This team combines experienced team management, expert coaching and excellent sport science and sports medicine – a well-designed leadership and support team from Cycling Australia and the AIS.
‘ORICA-AIS includes some of the best international riders in the world, who work with us to provide our young Australian riders with the best guidance and mentorship available. In this program we can already see the positive impact the international cyclists are having on the young Australian cyclists’ development.’
Cycling Australia, ORICA-GreenEDGE and the AIS are pleased to partner in this team and support Australian Cycling.
The Australian government is also a proud supporter of cycling, investing $6.9 million for high-performance cycling programs in 2012–13.