This weekend, the Australian National Championships will be getting underway at the Essendon Fields of Melbourne, located on the far Southeast of the country above Tasmania. Only a few short weeks ago, the 2015 Victorian Cyclocross Championship (which would be akin to the regional or state championships in the United States such as the New England Cyclocross Championships or the Colorado State Championships) offered a blistering preview of the course that is to come.
Gillogical posted a lap-by-lap video from the event on YouTube from the vantage point of what the spectators call Lactic Hill:
For more of the course, he also offered a larger preview of the grounds as a whole:
This weekend already promises to deliver some unexpected drama and excitement for the Elite Men and Women, who are regulated by UCI sanctions only once per year for their national championship races, while the remainder of their series races take place directly in the middle of the Northern Hemisphere’s road and mountain bike season.
The women’s main event may see a serious change up this year. Last year in China’s first-ever C1 UCI cyclocross race, Lisa Jacobs stormed to an impressive second place behind Ellen Van Loy. Jacobs was riding with the strength and energy of preparing for a great performance at the 2014 Cyclocross National Championships. Jacobs has become a regular staple at the top of the Australian National Championship podium (we even offered her full bike profile soon after her first win several years ago.) In fact, she has worn the championship jersey every year that the Elite Women’s field has had a National Championship Race.
This year, however, she has been battling back injuries, and has been forced to abstain from a few races in July as riders like Melissa Anset and Amy Bradley have taken full advantage with great results. With an Achilles injury that pains her most while running over barriers off the bike, we have yet to see if she will have enough to retain her perfect record.
The men’s field is packed with talent and should offer an intense toe-to-toe race this weekend. Although Paul Redenbach, last year’s third place finisher and leading Australian in the 2015 Cyclocross World Championships, has had a comparatively quiet season, his fellow teammate at Tabor, Garry Millburn, has seen plenty of success at the Australian National Series.
Millburn saw his leader’s jersey taken from him in the most recent rounds, 5 and 6, but that was mainly due to his absence at Canberra. Chris Aitken is currently the series leader, and will looks to continue to act as Mr. Consistency with a great result this weekend in Melbourne. Other notable contenders include Chris Jongewaard, Adrian Jackson, and Paul van der Ploeg.
Stay tuned for results from the 2015 Australian National Championship.