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Blue-sky attitude from champion cyclist

From riding in the snow to cruising around Lake Burley Griffin on a warm autumn day - you can't blame Chloe Hosking for losing her bearings.

But the Canberra sprinter will be well and truly defrosted by the time she takes to the start line of the Oceania Road Championships this weekend.

Almost 400 riders from Australia and New Zealand will converge on the national capital for the titles, which begin on Thursday with the time trial.

Just being back home at this time of year is unique for the 23-year-old, who usually can be found near the top of the time sheets in Europe.

However, with her sister getting married in a couple of weeks, Hosking touched down in Australia at 7am on Wednesday in complete contrast to the conditions she had raced in only a few days earlier.

Hosking defied freezing temperatures and pouring rain to finish fourth in the first World Cup event of the season - the Ronde van Drenthe in the Netherlands.


''It feels really strange to be back in Canberra,'' she said. ''Two days ago I was riding in snow. To come back to 27 degrees is a bit of a shock to the body and also just to be here in March. I haven't been home at this time of year for a long time, so it's nice.''

It's only a short break from her new professional outfit Hitec Products, having already recorded several promising results this season.

She was on track for an overall victory in the Tour of Qatar in February before a puncture ended her chances.

The disappointment of last year's Olympic Games campaign is a distant memory. Hosking was a pre-race favourite to feature for a medal in London only to fall off the pace 75 kilometres into the journey and finish more than 20 minutes behind the winner.

''That was a huge learning experience, mainly preparation wise on a whole another level,'' she said. ''I won't know how much I learnt until I'm put in that situation again at a world championships, Commonwealth Games or an Olympic Games. I've learnt a lot about managing myself mentally and trying to stay as prepared as possible.''

Hosking will save herself for the women's road race on Saturday as part of the ACTTAS team. The hilly course may rule her out of contention for the overall victory, but she is willing to fill whatever role required.

''It's not a race I've been targeting because I hadn't planned to be in Australia at this time of year, but my form's coming along well,'' she said. ''I think it's going to be a pretty difficult course, but they're not long climbs.''

Australian criterium champion Cameron Meyer will be the favourite in the men's road race on Sunday in his first major event since requiring surgery to remove a saddle sore.

OCEANIA ROAD CHAMPIONSHIPS: In Canberra from Thursday to Sunday. Thursday: Time trials at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve from 9am.