A 13-strong squad will represent the ARA Australian Cycling Team at the 2023 UCI Gravel World Championships in Veneto, Italy next month.
The men’s team is stacked with talent including current national champion Connor Sens (VIC), who will be representing Australia for the first time at a world championships in October.
“I’m super excited to be selected in my first world championships and to represent Australia in a discipline I have the most love for, and have transitioned towards quite recently,” Sens said.
“It will be great to return to Italy to race the Worlds, as this is where I was based for the last two years competing on the road.
“I have raced previously in Veneto and look forward to giving it my all on the gravel this time."
Sens also finished fourth in the elite men’s category at the Seven UCI Gravel World Series race earlier this year, an event won by Tasman Nankervis (VIC) who despite being selected will not compete.
They are joined by national championships silver medalist Alex Lack (TAS) who will make his first ever appearance at a World Championships, while Adam Blazevic (VIC) will also don the green-and-gold following two top-10 performances at the Poland and Sweden rounds of the UCI Gravel World Series.
Veteran Nathan Haas (ACT) will compete in his second UCI Gravel World Championships, with the ambition to improve on his 14th place in 2022, having scored three top-10 finishes including a silver at the Swedish UCI World Series Gravel event in August.
Matthew Bird (SA), who also competed at the inaugural Gravel World Championships last year, is currently training in Spain in preparation for next month’s event after a three-month gravel racing block in the United States.
With a third place at the American Gravel World Series race in June and a 10th in France, Queensland’s Freddy Ovett secured his position in the Australian team.
Jacob Langham (TAS) and Matthew Shepard (WA), who both produced top five results in their age category at a Gravel World Series round out the men’s team.
Leading the women’s charge is Tiffany Cromwell, who won the World Series race in the United Kingdom in May before her latest fourth- placed finish at the UCI Gravel World Series race in La Monsterrato.
Despite her selection, current national champion Justine Barrow (VIC) will not make her Gravel World Championship debut due to recovering time after a recent surgery.
“I was very excited about competing in Italy and representing Australia at a world championships 'in real life', rather than virtually," Barrow said.
“I have been very proud to wear the green-and-gold jersey as the national gravel champion competing in some of the biggest gravel races in the USA this season; however, unfortunately I have had a setback in my recovery from recent AC joint stabilisation surgery and my surgeon has now advised me not to compete, so I am very disappointed that I will be unable to be part of the Australian team at the world championships."
After her silver medal at Seven and a bronze medal performance at the national championships, Cassia Boglio (WA) has earnt a national team debut, as does Ella Bloor (ACT) who featured on the third step of the podium at the UCI Gravel World Series race in Canada recently.
Twenty-two-year-old Darcie Richards (WA) will make her second appearance at the Gravel World Championships, after finishing first in Under-23 and fifth overall at the national championships earlier this year.
Victoria’s Neve Bradbury was also selected but has withdrawn.
The team was chosen in accordance with AusCycling’s selection policies.
* Withdrawn from team
Feature picture: KiPhotomedia