PORTLAND’S Shannon Malseed goes into today’s Tour of the South West a lone ranger.
The 20-year-old will ride this weekend’s tour as an individual rather than with her Holden Women’s Cycling teammates.
“The others couldn’t make it down so riding as an individual will make it interesting,” she said.
“Riding as an individual can go either way, it could be good because I don’t have to work for the team and can maybe just sit with the bunch.
“But then I’m up against the tactics of the other teams.”
At the back of her mind will be her spot on top of the Victorian Road Series (VRS) aggregate.
The tour is the fourth event on the Victorian series and Malseed holds a narrow one-point lead.
“I haven’t been racing to win (the VRS),” she said. “It’s more been about fitness for the National Road Series,” Malseed said.
“The lead will be in the back of my mind. I’m one point ahead of Lizzie Williams and three in front of Lauretta Hanson.
“Lizzie isn’t racing this weekend but Lauretta is, so hopefully I will be able to hold her off, but it won’t be my number one priority.”
Malseed said the two-day, three-stage tour was one of her favourites on the Victorian calendar.
She said the way the tour supported women’s cycling was fantastic.
“The first year I think there were five of us and we had to race with the men,” she said.
“But the organisers have actively encouraged and developed the women’s categories, which has seen it grow and now some of the bigger teams are coming down.”
She said today’s individual time trial at Wangoom and the criterium around the Warrnambool cemetery tomorrow would be the toughest stages on the tour.
“A time trial is always going to be tough, because you go out there and give it your absolute all,” she said.
“But I’m really looking forward to it. It’s a great tour. I know the circuits and it’s close to home.”
The Tour of the South West kicks off this morning with road races at Wangoom from 7.30am. Individual time trials follow from 1pm.
Tomorrow will feature criteriums around the Warrnambool cemetery, from 8am.
More than 380 cyclists will compete across nine classifications this weekend.