While Challenge Shepparton will feature a field made up almost exclusively of Australian and New Zealand athletes, there isn’t any fear that the race will be boring. Both the men’s and women’s races, which will take place on April 11, include a strong field of pro athletes, with more than a few who are very motivated to win the race.
Among the women, the big favorite is likely Ellie Salthouse. So far Salthouse is having an amazing season – she’s competed in three races and won all three of them. Still there are lots of women in the field hungry for a win, especially Amelia Watkinson. Salthouse and Watkinson have been very competitive all season, and Watkinson will undoubtedly give all she can to keep Salthouse from winning four times in a row.
As a local favorite, Grace Thek is perhaps the most popular woman in the field and has also proven herself to be a strong athlete on numerous occasions. In addition, there are plenty of other women are more than able to be competitive including Courtney Gilfillan, Renee Kiley and Kirra Seidel.
Big favourites and lots of contenders in the men’s race
There’s lots of excitement expected in the men’s race at Challenge Shepparton, with expectations high for Steve McKenna, Trent Thorpe, Matt Burton and Levi Maxwell. McKenna has already won two races this season and seems to be the man in top form, but, at the same time, it is an understatement to say that Maxwell will pull out all the stops to beat him. Maxwell is not only the defending champion, he’s considered a local favorite. Burton contrasts that with the fact that he is considered the strongest biker of the four, while Thorpe is a true all-around athlete.
Of course, there will be many more pro men likely to be in the mix. Top athletes like Josh Amberger, Max Neumann, Simon Hearn and Caleb Noble have regularly shown that they are capable of great performances. These men are not only eager to finally be able to race again, but, more importantly, to show themselves up front in an important race.