BENDIGO International Madison riders be warned – the defending champions are in better condition than last year.
German combination Leif Lampater and Christian Grassman are back in Bendigo and desperate to win Sunday night’s cycling classic for a second-straight season.
While last year’s campaign was a successful hit and run mission, this year the German duo have been in Australia for two weeks and have undertaken an extensive training program at Mt Hotham.
“We put in a really hard week of training at Mt Hotham which gives us an advantage from last year,’’ Grassman said of the 150km a day sessions at Mt Hotham.
“We did a lot of hours on the bike at altitude
“We feel as though we’ll be stronger this year.”
Lampater said he and Grassman will need to be better this year against a stronger field than they defeated in 2013.
He said the hardest to beat will be Bendigo star Glenn O’Shea and his South Australian team-mate Alex Edmondson.
Both riders were part of the Australian team pursuit squad which won gold at the world titles in Colombia last week.
“Last year there were probably six teams that had really good sprinters, so it was hard to win the sprints,’’ Lampater said.
“But there wasn’t as many teams who liked doing the work to get laps and that was to our advantage.
“This year there looks to be more teams who like to do the work. Glenn O’Shea and Edmondson will be very strong, but there’s also a number of other teams who could win the race.
“It should be a great race.”
Lampater said the 80km race would be a survival of the fittest.
“If you go too hard early the last part of the race will be very tough,’’ he said.
“I don’t think you’ll see a lap taken early. The last 10 or 15km will be where it’s won.”
Lampater and Grassman will both ride in the criterium around Bendigo’s CBD on Friday night.
“We ride in a lot of criteriums in the European summer... it should be a lot of fun,’’ Grassman said.