Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Benalla cyclist edges closer to the world stage

An impressive performance in Europe has put Felicity Wardlaw one step closer to representing Australia at the world road cycling championships.

May 22, 2014 3:11am

Felicity Wardlaw cycling in the Borsels ITT. Picture: Bart Hazen

Benalla cyclist Felicity Wardlaw is one step closer to realising her dreams of representing Australia at the 2014 World Road Cycling Championships after being selected for an Australian road cycling team.

In April Wardlaw was invited to join the Jayco-AIS Women’s National Road Team for its European tour.

‘‘It was very short notice, I had less than one week to get everything sorted and get myself to the Netherlands, but I knew if I didn’t take up this opportunity then any chance of being selected for the Australian Team would be gone,’’ Wardlaw said.

‘‘I had to do it and I wanted to do it.’’

Wardlaw has now raced in events across Belgium, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic.

The races in Belgium and the Netherlands were one-day races over 100km each with up to 200 riders in each race, and a 20km time trial.

‘‘Racing in the European peloton for the first time was incredibly daunting,’’ Wardlaw said.

‘‘It’s aggressive, hard and fast racing and there is no time for a lapse of concentration. Nothing can prepare you for this style of racing apart from getting amongst it and learning the hard way.

‘‘The first few races were a shock to my system. I was racing with the best of the best in the world. I observed a lot of riders in the peloton and I would then set myself small but achievable goals to do each race. This has helped build my peloton racing skills and the confidence to actively contribute and support my team-mates during races.’’

It was in the Czech Republic (Gracia Orlova Tour) that Wardlaw fought her way to a silver medal in the prologue sprint.

Her job for the rest of the tour was to work for her team-mate, protect that rider, get them to the base of the climbs and control any breakaways. She performed that role and the rider finished second in the tour.

‘‘The Gracia Orlova Tour in Czech Republic is where we achieved some fantastic individual results, but also as a team,’’ Wardlaw said.

‘‘It’s a great feeling to know the hard work you put in helped with achieving a rewarding end result for our team-mate.’’

Wardlaw’s performance has earned her a further extension on the team and she will be heading to China to race two three-day tours and a World Cup event.

She hopes her stint overseas is enough to earn her a place on the Australian Team for the World Titles in Spain later this year.

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