Galaxy of stars vie for road crown

A GALAXY of cycling stars will be aiming to be crowned Queen and King of the Road at this weekend's national championships near Ballarat.

Silver medallist in Thursday night's criterium, Bendigo's Peta Mullens will be a rider to watch in Saturday afternoon's women's elite road race.

The 102km race starts at 1.30pm.

Bendigo riders pitting their skills against many of the country's best include Beth Duryea, winner of the women's road race and criterium at last year's Victorian Open in Bendigo.

Kate Finegan is another Bendigo cyclist competing in the women's elite road race.

Day three of the national road titles begins at 9am on Saturday when the under-23 men's field races 132.6km, or 13 laps of the Buninyong circuit.

Bendigo's Jack Haig won last year's national road series and will be a rider to watch.

Other Bendigo representatives in the under-23 road race are Sam Crome, Aidan Bowe, Robert Oakenfull and mountain bike aces Chris Hamilton and Tasman Nankervis.

The championships finale is Sunday's elite men's road race over 183.6km from 11.30am.

Tour de France champion Cadel Evans leads a star-studded field which include Simon Gerrans, Richie Porte, Steele von Hoff, Luke Durbridge and Cameron Meyer.

Drapac Racing's squad in the 18-lap duel includes Bendigo's Robbie Hucker and Darren Lapthorne and Barkers Creek's Lachlan Norris.

Bendigo's Zak Dempster and Horsham's Mark O'Brien are also in strong form. 

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