Tuesday, 25 February 2014
Bags packed, I was again ready for the next cycling race on the calendar with Team Avanti. This time it was off to Toowoomba, Queensland where the 2014 Oceania Road Championships would take place. Toowoomba holds mixed emotions for me being the place I met my girlfriend Lucy for the very first time and where I also made my first NRS podium. But it’s also the location I was airlifted out of after a serious racing accident making it a place I love and hate. We arrived a few days prior to the race, allowing some time for course recon and to acclimatize to the humidity that QLD is renowned for. Our training rides were split between two with the time trial riders preparing separately while the rest of us who were only racing in the road race did our own thing.
Monday, 10 February 2014
The first tour of the 2014 season for Team Avanti took place in New Zealand with the UCI 2.2 New Zealand Cycle Classic. I was excited to race having come off a great first month of racing in Australia and I was confident, being surrounded by my teammates who had performed strongly in their early season racing too.
Thursday, 6 February 2014
If there was one race any Australian rider wanted to win, it would be this one. Not only because the competition is at it’s best, but because for the whole season, you have the privilege to wear your national colours on your team’s jersey.
Monday, 27 January 2014
The perfect warm summers evening in Ballarat greeted us for the 2014 National Criterium Championships which took place around Sturt Street on a 1.2km hot dog circuit. In my first elite national championships, I was looking forward to the step up into the big league, but I’d be racing against guys who’d have a lot more experience than I. For Australian riders, the national champs are one of the biggest races for the whole year, so to win one means your preparation is perfect and your form must be at it’s best. This year for Team Avanti Pro Cycling, we had 8 riders representing in the elite category. We had a strong team and our plan was to be prominent at the front and if it was a bunch sprint, the boys would lead it out for me. Knowing my team were trusting me to get the job done made me even more motivated. Fresh off my Bay Classic win, I was feeling good and ready to race. Mid-way through the race, we were all riding smart, doing our various roles as part of the team. The pace was fast and the field strung out at numerous times, creating gaps between the front, middle and back of the peloton. Our team got to the front with six laps to go and began to take up the pace making. It’s a very hard course to get a lead-out train going because the front straight is uphill and the back straight is a fast downhill making it hard to maintain a constant speed and it also provides the competitors with a nice slipstream on the downhill. The boys did an incredible job to keep us in great position at the front for the final few laps, despite being challenged by team Drapac in the closing few laps. With one lap remaining, I was with AJ and Neil who were fighting to stay at the front. Around the top hairpin corner, team Drapac’s front lead-out man slid out and lost his front wheel, causing his whole team to crash out of the race! It was a huge interruption to the final lap, but we just missed the carnage thanks to a move by AJ up the inside of the corner moments before. Down the back straight, AJ and Steele Von Hoff (Garmin-Sharp) made the most of the confusion, and ended up with a 20m lead, with me chasing hard to get back on AJ’s wheel. Around the last corner, AJ and Steele had a convincing lead, whilst Cam Meyer had put in a big effort to fly past me and close the gap. I was still in shock from what had happened on the previous corner but with 300m to go, my only chance was a bronze medal and I wasn’t going to give up on that chance at all. I gave it everything I had left and pushed hard to pass Cam and cross the line in third place, only a wheel behind my teammate AJ who finished a respectable 2nd behind Garmin Sharp’s Pro Tour sprinter, Steele Von Hoff.
Tuesday, 14 January 2014
Day 1 - Ritchie Boulevard, Hot-dog criterium circuit. Superb conditions, spectator perfect on the waterfront. Riding for Team Procon Telematics, I was accompanied by world class sprinter and Garmin Sharp Pro Tour rider, Steele Von Hoff who, on paper, was our best chance of winning the Bay Classic this year. Joining Steele and I were young guns Ed Bissaker, Matt Lane and Damien Drapac who were all looking forward to the week of racing.
Sunday, 29 December 2013
With 2013 coming to a close, preparation for an exciting 2014 season is well on track with the newly named Avanti Pro Cycling Team.