Shara takes on the world at UCI World Championship
REIGNING Australian champion Belli Park's Shara Gillow is expected to make an impact at the prestigious UCI World Championships this week.
Gillow has experienced a strong season, winning the national time trial title in Ballarat and claiming podium positions in top-tier European races.
Her campaign in Florence is likely to include a 42km team time trial with Orica-AIS tonight (AEST), a 22km individual time trial on Tuesday and then a 140km road race on Saturday.
Former professional cyclist Noosa's Ben Johnson believes the Sunshine Coast Cycling Club member is primed for a top showing.
"Shara's a strong rider and I'm sure she will perform well for herself and her country," he said.
"She's a time trial specialist and Australian champion and she has had some good results this year. She'd be expecting a top-five finish (in the time trial), if not a win.
"She's also had some good road wins as well this year."
While the time trial course is relatively benign, the road race includes a relatively steep rise which the peleton will tackle five times.
Johnson said the route should still suit Gillow's hard-working ethic.
"It's a pretty tough course which will suit her down to the ground," he said.
"The harder the race is, the better she will go because she's one of the best female riders in the world.
"She's a strong time trialist and a strong rider on the flat and she proved herself on the climbs this year.
"I'm sure she's going to be right up there in the race."
And at just 25, Johnson said the world would be hearing a lot more from Gillow in coming years.
He said a world championship title may not be too far away.
"She's just getting going now in my opinion," he said.
"She's getting better every year and I think in the next two or three years she'll continue to improve."
London Olympian Gillow competed at the world championships in New Zealand last year, claiming 10th in the time trial, 53rd in the road race and significantly, second in the team time trial.
MAPLETON'S Daniel Fitter and Buddina's Ryan Cavanagh will also compete at the world championships, in the junior men's divisions.