2018 Australian road race champions Shannon Malseed and Alex Edmondson are among the high-profile riders set to contest the Women’s Herald Sun Tour powered by Let’s Go Motorhomes and the Jayco Herald Sun Tour respectively, with both riders excited for the opportunity to wear their iconic green and gold jerseys on Victoria’s roads.

Speaking at the end of the recent Santos women’s Tour, new Team TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank signing Masleed was still adjusting to the colours. “I have had a week now in stripes, and I am excited every time I put on the jersey,” the Ballarat local said. “I have found the support from the peloton has been overwhelming – that was something I did not expect. I am incredibly proud to wear the green and gold, as any champion would be.”

Malseed will be among the favourites to win the first-ever Women’s Herald Sun Tour powered by Let’s Go Motorhomes, a 2018 addition to the oldest stage race in Australia. “Normally at that time of year we are sitting back and watching the men race,” she said. “The opportunity to race the inaugural women’s edition is hugely exciting,”

Malseed will be joined on the Thule Stage 1 start-line in Healesville by an international collection of riders from her UCI Women’s Tour team TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank. Malseed laughed that she had recently taken her team-mates to an Australian wildlife park. “The team were all really excited to be seeing some native animals – I’m just tagging along.

“I am absolutely thrilled that my team could come and race with me in Australia,” she continued. “Every day we are getting to know each a little more, and by the time we race the Women’s Herald Sun Tour powered by Let’s Go Motorhomes we will be a tight-knit group. I am really looking forward to it.”

Edmondson, meanwhile, who upset a packed elite men’s field at the Road National Championships, said he was only just getting over the shock of his triumph. “It has sunk in a little bit, but I still pinch myself every time I get to pull on the green and gold,” Mitchelton-Scott’s 24-year-old rider admitted. “I really didn’t see it coming at all.

“I have raced the Jayco Herald Sun Tour once before, a few years ago back in 2014. Whenever you get the opportunity to race in Australia it is pretty special, but to be able to do it in the green and gold is something you grow up dreaming about. I cannot wait.”

Edmondson’s sister, Annette Edmondson, will racing against Malseed in the women’s race. “Whenever I get the opportunity to race in the same race as Nettie it is pretty cool,” said Edmondson. “I am lucky to have someone else in the family I can share this whole experience with – it is very special.”

Edmondson was particularly excited about the Beastwear prologue, which will see riders dash through a 1.6-kilometre course from Alexandra Gardens to Queensbridge Square on Southbank. “I will definitely try to target that prologue,” he admitted. “Coming from the track [Edmondson is a three-time track world champion], anything short distance is definitely up my alley. I am just looking forward to racing in front of that big crowd, right in the heart of Melbourne – you don’t get many opportunities to race in the centre of a city.”

The 65th edition of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour commences with the inaugural Women’s Herald Sun Tour presented by Let’s Go Motorhomes on Tuesday January 30 with a road race around Healesville in the scenic Yarra Valley. The men get their start on Wednesday January 31 with a male and female time trial in the Melbourne CBD, from Alexandra Gardens to Queensbridge Square. There will be food trucks, entertainment, music and more at Alexandra Gardens from lunchtime.

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