Top cyclists set for battle
SOME of Australia's top female road cyclists will descend on the Tweed on Friday for the Battle of the Border.
The three-day event includes the second round of the women's Subaru National Road Series.
The 2008 Oceania track champion Liz Phillipou leads the Specialized Women SA team on its first trip to the race.
"We haven't been to the Tweed before," Phillipou said.
"We are a new team. We just formed in October last year."
It is also a young group, with Kimberly Wells, Hannah Geelan, Stacey Riedel and Carla Franson rounding out the team.
"Two of our girls are only 16 years old. They are development riders," Phillipou said.
"If this team wasn't created then these young girls wouldn't be going to these races."
Two of the team's elite riders, Rebecca Werner and Loren Rowney, are competing in the United States and Trudy Van Der Straaten is out injured.
"The race in the Tweed should suit us more than in the first round in Mersey Valley (Tasmania)," Phillipou said.
"The Tweed doesn't have as many steep ascents."
Riders to watch out for in this year's race include Victoria's Lisa Jacobs, from the Jayco/Appolo VIS team, who won the first round at Mersey Valley.
"We have the Battle coming up and I certainly will go in with more confidence, but, more importantly, it will give my Jayco/Apollo VIS team a great boost, as we really want to defend our team title from last year," Jacobs said.
"We have a number of really strong riders to make our team even bigger and better, so we are really looking forward to the next event in a couple of weeks,"
Jacobs is one of the five contenders that Phillipou has to keep an eye on over the four stages.
This year's Battle on the Border promises to be the largest yet, with almost 500 riders competing in the Tour of the Tweed.
Festival organiser QMS Sports chief executive Michael Crawley said almost 500 riders had registered for the tour.
"That's nine race divisions, four stages with about 500 riders over the three days. That's a lot of riding," Crawley said.
"People can still register for the Gran Fondo casual rides."
The Battle of the Border is quickly growing into one of Australia's largest cycling festivals.
The Tour De Tweed starts next Saturday with a 7km time trial.