CBR Women's Racing team manager Chris Dennis remains confident his makeshift squad can be competitive at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race despite being forced into several changes.
Former triple jumper Michelle Apostolou and New Zealand-born Scottish rider Genevieve Whitson have joined the team for the challenging 113km road race around Geelong, Barwon Heads and Torquay on Saturday.
They will join team captain Chloe McIntosh, Belinda Chamberlain and Alice Wallett in a five-pronged attack for a race which has ramped up in intensity with valuable UCI rankings points up for grabs.
CBR Women's Racing's main general classification rider, Alison Rice, will miss the event with a strained ligament.
Alex Nicholls took a break over the festive period, Laura Darlington is preparing to climb to the summit of Mount Everest later this year while Iona Halliday is recovering from a racing accident.
"The replacement riders are of an equal standard so it doesn't impact us that much, but we're pretty realistic about what's likely to happen tomorrow," Dennis said.
"It's a UCI race and you've got (teams like) Orica-AIS, Wiggle-High5 riding.
"We're not expecting to win it, but we're pretty confident the girls will be in the mix."
McIntosh will be hoping to build on her strong form late last year with a third placed finish in the Melbourne to Warrnambool.
"She also lasted until the last lap at the nationals in Ballarat, so she is in pretty good form," Dennis said.
"The course kind of suits us actually because people like Belinda Chamberlain are really powerful riders, so the cross-winds you get off the Great Ocean Road suits really strong riders."
The CBR Women's Racing team is about to enter its second season after being established in August last year.
It was set up to replace the Suzuki Trek team in the National Road Series after Suzuki withdrew their funding.
"In professional sporting parlance, we're in a rebuilding phase, but it's going well," Dennis said.
"We're trying to do something different with the structure and the philosophy of the team, making it Canberra-based and being a lot more involved with the community.
"The girls have responded really well to that change in philosophy and that bodes well for the longevity of the team."