Plapp, Hanson named in Olympic team

Lauretta Hanson with Georgie Howe following behind. (AusCycling/Con Chronis)

With AAP Newsroom

Luke Plapp and Lauretta Hanson have been named in the Australian Olympic cycling team.

Plapp grew up in Maidstone and went to school at Maribyrnong Sports Academy and will represent Australia in the road race and time trial.

Hanson still calls Kyneton ‘home’ despite moving way from the Macedon Ranges and will make her Olympic debut in the road race.

The team was announced on Saturday morning in n Adelaide, with no major shocks but plenty of uncertainty about how the track team will perform in Paris.

Grace Brown and the men’s team sprint are seen as the key medal hopes for Australian cycling on the road and track at the Paris Olympics.

The last world track championships were in Glasgow last August and no international competition has been held since earlier this year, meaning form is impossible to gauge.

But there is no doubt about Brown’s credentials. After finishing fourth in the road time trial at the Tokyo Olympics, she has won silver in the discipline at the last two world championships.

Brown, who will retire at the end of this season, also showed her potential for the Olympic road race earlier this year by winning the Liege-Bastogne-Liege classic.

The track events have long been a key Olympic focus for Australia, but Tokyo three years ago was a disaster.

One bronze medal in the men’s team pursuit was Australia’s worst medal total at the velodrome since the 1980 Moscow Olympics.

The campaign was marred by Alex Porter’s face plant in men’s team pursuit qualifying when his handlebar snapped off at about 60km/h.

The national track program has undergone a restructure in the last three years and there is cautious optimism about improvement in Paris.

Matthew Glaetzer is back for his fourth Olympics and he will combine with Matthew Richardson and Leigh Hoffman in the team sprint.

Australia won the world title two years ago and were runners-up last year to the Dutch, who dominate the men’s sprint events on the track.

Tom Cornish was the unlucky member of the Australian men’s sprint group to miss out on Olympic selection.

Alex Manly and Georgia Baker also won silver at the worlds last year in the women’s madison.

Another medal hope will be Michael Matthews in the men’s road race. He has a strong record of podiums at world road championships and he finished runner-up earlier this year at the Milan-Sanremo classic.

Matthews is riding at the Tour de France, which starts on Saturday night (AEST) and the three-week Grand Tour will show his form heading into the August 3 Olympic road race.

In-form Ruby Roseman-Gannon, who won the final stage of the Tour of Britain earlier this month, and Lauretta Hanson will support Brown in the August 4 road race.

Respected domestique Simon Clarke will be the men’s road team captain, with time trial specialist Luke Plapp their third member.

The men’s and women’s road time trials will be held on July 27, with the track events from August 5-11.

Paris team chef de mission Anna Meares, one of Australian cycling’s all-time greats and a two-time Olympic gold medallist on the track, announced the selections at the Adelaide Superdrome.

“My excitement for this team is great, as are my hopes. It’s hard to not feel this way having dedicated 22 years myself to loving it,” she said.

“And I admit, it will be one sport I will find the hardest to watch.”


* Men’s road: Michael Matthews, Simon Clarke, Luke Plapp (also time trial)

* Women’s road: Grace Brown (also time trial), Ruby Roseman-Gannon, Lauretta Hanson

* Men’s track sprint: Matthew Glaetzer, Matthew Richardson, Leigh Hoffman

* Women’s track sprint: Kristina Clonan

* Men’s track endurance: Kelland O’Brien, Sam Welsford, Conor Leahy, Oliver Bleddyn

* Women’s track endurance: Georgia Baker, Alex Manly, Maeve Plouffe, Sophie Edwards, Chloe Moran