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The Aussie Summer of Cycling

Hello everyone and welcome to my blog, my name is Lauren Kitchen and I’m excited to have the opportunity to share with you some insight into professional cycling! I thought I would take the opportunity to write about the opening races of the season in Australia and my insight into the classics which will be upon us in just a few weeks time!
Sailing during the Cadels race with the Geelong Sailing club
The Aussie Summer of Cycling! I love these races, not just because they are in Australia, but that is definitely part of it, but because they are very professionally organised and a fantastic way to start the year. The Aussie Summer of Cycling consists of the Bay Criterium Series, the Aussie Nationals, The Tour Down Under, The Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race and The Herald Sun Tour. This year I competed in all these races apart from the Sun Tour. One thing that struck me about the Aussie summer this year was the strength of all the teams. I’ve been told that these races were really exciting to watch, thanks also to the live coverage provided but the race organisations.  It was definitely a change from a the past where one team or rider has dominated these races and lead to more controlled and predictable racing. 
FDJ Studios – Paris, Photo Credit: Thomas Maheux
Of the eight UCI race days between January 16th and February 6th, eight different teams took victories. Of these race days, on paper four were probably designed to be bunch sprints, two of these days, being Stage 4 TDU and Race Torquay, resulted in the breakaway succeeding and making it to the finish. With no dominant team, the races were far from ‘controlled’ and offered opportunities for more tactically astute racing as the level continues to climb. The evolution of women’s cycling is extremely evident here and leads me to look towards the Spring Classics with anticipation. I believe this evolution is because more teams are becoming stronger as they become more professional with most teams now offering their riders the best support available to progress as individuals and as a team. 
Team Training in the Adelaide Hills!
Now looking towards the Spring Classics, I think it will be an exciting block of racing to watch, with so many strong teams, varied parcours and the added ‘excitement’ of an Olympic year means a serious show of top notch bike racing. I anticipate a continuation of the ‘theme’ we saw in Australia, no dominant team or rider with dynamic racing and varied outcomes making each race a new opportunity and a serious show. The Olympic selection period for most countries will run throughout the Spring Classics and could alter the way races are run, each country selects their team differently with some nations focused on results only and others on team roles and team dynamics, All I know is I’m not envious of the dutch selectors as I think it will be the most challenging selection to make with only four spots on offer for such strong nation. It’s just a couple of weeks until the ‘opening weekend’ in Belgium and the start of the classics for another year and I’m excited to see what it will bring. Happy Pedalling! 
Lauren Kitchen
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