NEXT month’s Bendigo International Madison carnival is shaping as one of the strongest in modern times.
Bendigo’s Glenn O’Shea and speed machine Jack Bobridge headline a world-class field for the madison, while world champion Annette Edmondson will be the star attraction in the women’s madison.
“The field for the international madison is as deep as its ever been,’’ BIM chief executive Rik McCaig said.
“To get Annette Edmondson for the women’s madison is awesome for us. The women’s madison is really starting to take off.”
O’Shea and Bobridge will return to Bendigo with redemption in mind after finishing third behind young guns Callum Scotson and Nick Fitter last year.
O’Shea will ride in his hometown classic a week after representing Australia at the world track championships in London.
Bobridge has had a brilliant summer in Australia, winning the national road championship in Ballarat.
Scotson and Fitter will return to defend their crown, while last year’s runner-up Christian Grassman is heading back to Bendigo.
Grassman, from Germany, will have a new team-mate in 2016 – Dutchman Nick Stopler.
“Scotson and Fitter have won the Australian madison championship since and will be even better this year,’’ McCaig said.
“Grassman and Stopler have some great form in six-day races in Europe.”
2014 Bendigo Madison winners Roy Pieters and Sam Crome will join forces again this year.
“Crome and Pieters have stepped up a level and can be classed as one of the big teams,’’ McCaig said.
Austrian Andreas Mueller will ride with rising Western Australian star Stephen Hall, whose father Murray is a previous runner-up in Bendigo.
New South Wales siblings Scott and Jackson Law will stretch the top rated teams.
“Scott and Jackson will probably be the fastest riders on the track in the sprints,’’ McCaig said.
Olympic madison champion Graeme Brown is also returning to Bendigo.
“Graeme has decided that the Bendigo Madison will be the last madison he rides in his career,’’ McCaig said.
“He’s very keen to go out on a high.”
Meanwhile, there’ll be no criterium in the CBD on the Friday night of the carnival this year.
“It’s disappointing not to have the criterium, but we have replaced it with track racing for juniors,’’ McCaig said. “The madison riders will be there to present trophies to the kids.”