IT’S been two years since Bathurst’s Mark Renshaw has represented his nation on the road but in Sunday’s UCI Road World Championships in Doha, Qatar he will don the green and gold once again.
The hot and testing conditions are a happy hunting ground for Renshaw who claimed his biggest career success to date on the same roads in the 2011 Tour of Qatar.
However, racing for his country this time around makes it a whole different experience for the Bathurst cyclist.
In an interview with SBS’s Cycling Central before heading over to Qatar, Renshaw said the 257.5-kilometre race is a difficult one to plan ahead for.
“The most difficult factor in the road race will be the heat, and then depending on what the wind is doing that will open it up to nationalities like Belgium and Holland to have an outside chance to split the race up early. But it will still come down to the bigger nationalities, who want to sprint,” Renshaw said.
“I think it’s a race where in 5km we could lose five favourites with punctures or crashes because that’s how it works in Qatar.
“I think we’ll be making up on tactics on the run as the race unfolds. With that kind of race, anybody can be in the hot seat in the final but it will be about positioning and making sure you look after yourself, avoid those crashes and punctures.
Personally I don’t know the tactics because we [the Australia national team] haven’t sat down yet, but I think the first thing will be getting to the end of the race and working out who is left for the sprint.”
Renshaw was deemed by many to be unlucky in his omission from the 2011 Australian World Championships squad – the last sprinter-friendly edition of the race.
The Bathurst rider said he didn’t want to dwell on the past when asked if he felt vindicated by his selection for the 2016 race.
“I don’t want to look too much back at the past because it was different selectors and trainers for Australia. If I wasn’t going to get selected this year I was never going to go because the course is so well suited to me.
“It will be good to see how it all functions on the inside.”
The race begins at 10.30am on Sunday morning local time, live to watch in Australia from 10.20pm AEST.