Newly-crowned national road race champion Shannon Malseed is prepared for the new pressure which goes with wearing the green and gold jersey.
The Portland export steps out in the national champion’s bands for the first time in the Tour Down Under in South Australia on Thursday.
The four-stage event will also be her debut for United States team TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank as she embarks on a fully professional international cycling career.
She met her new teammates for the first time in Adelaide on Tuesday.
The Ballarat-based Malseed has no doubt that as national champion she will be placed under added pressure – internally and externally.
She said it was a challenge she was more happy to take on.
While on a whole new level now, pressure from being a marked rider is not new to her after she took out the National Road Series last year.
The 23-year-old certainly does not expect to slip under the guard of rivals as she did on her way to taking out the Cycling Australia Road National Championships elite women’s road race at Buninyong on Sunday.
Malseed said it had been a “ridiculously” hectic time early in the week, to the point where she had had to turn off her phone.
She said the support had been incredible, but reached a point where she needed to be able to take in the success she had enjoyed.
“It’s been amazing,” she said.
Malseed said it was now time to get back the business of riding – time to get focused on the job ahead.
She will go from the Tour Down Under to the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race on Saturday, January 27, Herald Sun Tour on January 30-31 and then to the United States with the TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank team on February 6.
Malseed said earning a place on the Australian road team for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in April meant she was unsure exactly what her program would be for the rest year.
She said she had originally been scheduled to go to Europe early in the year, but this might now have to wait.
The Commonwealth Games road race will take place on the Currumbin Beachfront on Tuesday, April 10.