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Cyclist on the road again for nationals bid

FINAL FLING: Michael England will contest the Mars Cycling Australia Road National Championships from Sunday.
FINAL FLING: Michael England will contest the Mars Cycling Australia Road National Championships from Sunday. Paul Braven GLABIKE

MICHAEL England will pull on the lycra again on Sunday as he gives the Mars Cycling Australia Road National Championships one last whirl.

The 31-year-old former professional road cyclist retired in 2011 but has been training every day for the 2015 Marathon Mountain Bike season.

But he said he wanted to have another go at the road nationals "while I still have the fitness". "I've now been doing mountain biking the last year," he said.

He said the road race would involve 18 circuits of 10km track.

"It's a big mental game because you cross the finish line and start again to do another one," he said.

"(But) there will be about 200 starters hurting just as much as me."

Last year's winner Simon Gerrans did the course in 4.43 minutes in front of 2011 Tour de France winner Cadel Evans.

England said expectations of his performance were very different. "It'll be very impressive if I finish," he said.

"That's not an option I've thought about but I respect the race and if I didn't finish, I wouldn't be devastated."

England said if he thought he was anywhere near the front of the pack nearing the end of the race, he might stand a chance of winning.

"At the business side of the race where you've only got one lap to go, I'll be giving it my all," he said. "It's only 10km more and everyone next to you wants the same prize."

And after the race on Sunday? England will focus on the mountain bike season ahead.

"I'm so lucky to have another opportunity to compete on bikes," he said. "I have plenty of sponsors from Gladstone who have been terrific. I'm really on cloud nine all over again."

Topics:  cycling gladstone sport mountain biking nationals