It was a triple celebration for 22-year-old Shannon Malseed as she wrapped up the NRS overall victory, her team - Holden Women's Racing - won the overall team award and teammate Kimberley Wells won the GC at the Tour of Gippsland. For Malseed, it was the culmination of a number of years hard work, working her way up as a promising youngster to the stage where she is one of the more experienced heads in the Australian peloton.
Malseed spoke to Cycling Central about her emotions upon realising that she had secured one of the most lasting accolades of her career to date.
“The most important stage ended up being Stage 3, where Kimberley won and (Rebecca) Wiasak (High5 Dreamteam) didn’t get on the podium," said Malseed. "We did the sums after that and worked out that I would win the overall even if I didn’t finish the stage the next day, with how the points worked out.
"That night, it wasn’t elation, more relief almost. I was like ‘Good, I don’t have to worry about that. I can ride for Kimberley.’ That was pretty cool to work out.”
Coming after a long season that began all the way back in February with the Tour of East Gippsland, Malseed was keen to extol the virtues of the Holden Women's Racing squad that fought off challenges from the other top teams in the women's peloton, declaring them the 'best' after topping the NRS points tallies.
“Our team won four tours this season and we won them with four different people. That shows that we probably are the strongest team in the NRS, though High5 gives us a shake and it’s always a good competition with them. We’re versatile, consistent, and our riders, if one of us wins then there are others coming 2nd and 3rd. That got us a lot of points over the season, having that consistency."
Holden Women's Racing took out the team’s classification on 1845 points over High5 Dream Team (1517pts) and TIS Racing (1045pts).
It’s always a great experience to stand on the podium with your team," said Malseed. "In cycling, usually it’s the winner who stands on the podium by themselves, but it really is a team effort and I think that should be acknowledged a little more in cycling.”
The year saw tour victories for Louisa Lobigs, Grace Brown, Wells, Malseed and also the Oceania Championships road race win with last year's NRS champion Lisen Hockings.
“We were all up there for sure," said Malseed, "I think we had the top five on the rankings at one stage. I missed out on Sam Miranda (Tour of King Valley) and Battle (Recharge), but I managed to win it (the NRS overall) by being in consistent in the races I was here for.
"It was exciting that it came down to the final race, there was a really good battle, not just for the GC at the Tour of Gippsland but for the NRS jersey as well. I had a few riders who could take it off me, Macey Stewart (TIS Racing) and Beck (Wiasak), it always makes it more exciting with that competition.”
Malseed missed a few races during the middle of the season by virtue of being selected for the High5 national womens development team, plying her trade over in Europe for a few months as the development squad went on to take some of the best results since its inception. Malseed has been a part of every squad in recent years and now is set to compete on a higher level.
“I have signed with a team to move on from the NRS," confirmed Malseed, "it hasn’t come out yet… so watch this space. You guys will have to look out and see where I’m going to.”
Whilst unprepared to name the team before the official announcement, there are a number of teams that would make sense for Malseed. Potentially one of the larger American teams may be her destination, as she has raced extensively over in the USA on the criterium circuit and the bigger teams also race in Europe in the World Tour events.
Regardless of where she ends up, the name Shannon Malseed will be one to watch, bringing her aggressive style to light up races and take results.