mobius Future Racing is a Sydney based NRS cycling team focused on achieving results at a national level and providing a development pathway for leading juniors.
New Zealand National Road Racing Championships
1st, U19 ITT, James Fouche
1st, U19 Road Race, Robert Stannard
Oceania Road Cycling Championships
1st, U19 Road Race, James Fouche
2nd, U19 ITT, James Fouche
3rd, Elite ITT, Ben Dyball
NSW Road Cycling Championships
1st, Hill Climb, Scott Bradburn
2nd, Team Time Trial, Aden Reynolds
2nd, Elite Road Race, Ben Dyball
Tour de l’Abitibi
2nd, Stage 3, James Fouche
NRS Tour of the Great South Coast
2nd Stage 3, James Fouche
1st Stage 6, Nick Kergozou
2nd Stage 6, Robert Stannard
1st Stage 7, Robert Stannard
NRS National Capital Tour
2nd General Classification, Robert Stannard
1st U23 General Classification, Robert Stannard
3rd Stage 2, Robert Stannard
NRS Tour of Tasmania
1st, Stage 4, Ben Dyball
1st, General Classification, Ben Dyball
Satalyst Tour of Margaret River
1st, Stage 1 TTT, Ben Carman, Aaron Bicknell, Peter Livingstone, Sam Burston and Tristan Cardew
1st, General Classification, mobius Future Racing
Taiwan KOM Challenge
3rd, Ben Dyball
mobius Future Racing’s U19 Australian Road Race Champion Mitch Wright is taking on the best in the world in Bergen, Norway this evening. Mitch will be competing in the UCI Junior Time Trial World Championships at 7:51pm AEST.
Watch Mitch live on the UCI YouTube channel here: ow.ly/jyRz30fg0EF ... See MoreSee Less
You Just Have to Take it on the Chin.
A race report powered by Blue Dinosaur from Subaru National Road Series Amy Gillett Foundation Otway Tour, written by DS Scott Bradburn.
The inaugural Amy’s Otway Men’s Tour was a tour the team was looking forward to. The profile of the second stage looked like one which could favour us and even the crit looked nice with a sharp climb every lap.
Arriving at our accommodation I was very impressed. Tom Petty had arranged nice cabins on the edge of a lovely trout stream with bush land and views of the coastline. It ticked all the (my) boxes. The boys were less impressed. The first thing I was greeted with after 12 hours on the road was “Man. One power point per cabin. I’m not joking. How was your drive?” The guys seemed to be worried about how we’d cook but it wasn’t cooking appliances stacked near each socket, it was mobile phones waiting to be charged.
We are a resourceful lot and managed to cook, recharge phones and free up the socket for Aaron’s hair dryer without too much drama. I thought if we could just apply this kind of cooperation and team work to race day, we would be ok.
The team for this tour include Conor Murtagh Aden Reynolds Aidan Kampers Angus Lyons Peter Livingstone and Ethan Berends and Aaron Bicknell who both had to stand in at less than a weeks notice due to injuries to Ben Carman and Jesse Coyle. Ben unfortunately broke his collarbone in the QLD state road champs the previous weekend, but he is due for surgery and healing well.
Chatting about the crit the night before, we committed to nailing our preparation, to focus on helping each other forward and communication. It was pleasing to see the guys nail the prep without the need for a prompt. We left on time, signed on early, completed solid warm ups and secured starts in the first 2 rows which could be critical on the tight Lorne circuit. That was the good bit. Once the race started it was immediately strung out and clear that moving up was going to be very difficult. NSWIS, in particular, committed to keeping it in a line and blowing it to bits. If you started in the back third, your race was over before the start gun. If you were in the middle, only 1-2 guys were strong enough to make the final cut. And even in the front third, most wouldn’t hold on. The commitment and execution of NSWIS was impressive to watch and something we can learn from.
After 15 minutes of relentless pace, 20 riders were left on the circuit with only NSWIS and Isowhey well represented. Fortunately (if you choose to put a positive spin on things), we had one rider make it. Aidan Kampers rode an exceptional race and looked strong throughout, recording his first NRS Top 10 in a break out performance. Ryan Cavanaugh took the win with an incredible solo performance, almost lapping the field despite an Isowhey led chase.
So what went wrong? Debriefing afterward there were a number of factors which contributed. There was a little bad luck with most the guys starting on the left which was impacted by some missed clip ins and a squeeze due to road furniture. Despite this though, we still had 3-4 in the front 30 on the early laps so if we were good enough, we were close enough. Though the guys were really disappointed afterward, it was good to have an honest chat about how it went and for the guys to be self-aware and honest enough to acknowledge that on the day, on that circuit, we weren’t good enough. We can learn from that and think about how we can be better prepared from a training and race strategy perspective if we are faced with a punchy circuit like that in future.
The Sunday road race was 120km through the rolling hills north west of Lorne and a dash home on the Great Ocean Rd. It was a spectacular loop and it almost made me wish I was out there on the bike. Mind you, kicking back in the team car with our swanny Marcus Arnold and some chocolate cookies, coke and some decent team manager banter on the radio made me happy enough to be where I was.
Our plan for the race was to mark anything dangerous in the first 60 and ensure Aidan was well positioned at all times to go with the favourites or to take an opportunity to put some pressure on them. We thought the race would be too easy to control until the second climb (60k in) so it was here that we wanted to start the fireworks if possible. As predicted, NSWIS set a strong tempo until this point and was able to neutralise all attempts to break things up. The climb itself turned out far less selective than we’d hoped and the writing was on the wall – a bunch kit. This wasn’t what we wanted so we tried to get something clear and eventually did with Conor Murtagh breaking clear with Tom Kaesler (Drapac Pat's Veg) and Jason Thomson (Van D'am Racing). They managed to punch out to 30 seconds despite the combined effort of NSWIS and IsoWhey Sports - Swiss Wellness p/b Cervélo, however with 5km to go they were reeled in and the bunch sprint was set up with Michael Freiberg taking the win for IsoWhey.
The guys kept Aidan in good position all day and helped him to achieve 10th for the Tour and 6th U23. We are all really happy to see Aidan’s progress and have rising expectations about what he will achieve with more experience and development. Our results overall were below our expectations but we are confident that the guys will bounce back and we have an opportunity to do that this weekend at Battle on the Border.
Finally, thanks to the guys for their effort over the weekend and for being an easy bunch to Tour with. Also a shout out to Marcus Arnold for his help preparing the team and a mammoth driving effort with almost 1200km driven between us on Sunday, with the extra happiness knowing that Jesse had won both the KOM Financial Advice criterium series on Saturday and another local race on Sunday. ... See MoreSee Less
Luxury hotel rooms, the finest wineries and picturesque riding, King Valley, Victoria is where one should appreciate the finer things in life, instead, 7 skinny mobius Future Racing cyclists were putting everything on the line to try and continue their progress from a small Sydney team, to one of the best in Australia. It almost seemed cruel to host a bicycle race here.
A sponsor perspective from Australia’s Subaru National Road Series by Guy Bicknell of mobius marketing and design consultants (mobius.com.au/)
I decided quite late to attend the Sam Miranda King Valley Tour of King Valley, going along with fellow sponsor and good mate David Riddell from AVER. He drove up from Melbourne and I flew to Albury where he picked me up just after lunch from Albury where we made haste to Pizzini Wines in King Valley and were spoiled rotten by the cellar master there who opened up some of his special vintages. It was great day for all as we bought up big and headed back to our respective hotels, ahead of an arranged dinner at the local Rinaldo's Casa Cucina, Wangaratta with the mFR boys. Tom Petty, DS of the team had made an early booking for 6.15 and, true to form, 7 slim, tall, slightly tired riders filed in right on time. I have heard it said that mFR riders all have a very similar body type, mostly about 190cm plus tall and pretty skinny - pretty accurate I thought.
Seeing myself as poor mans version of Oleg Tinkov, I asked myself what would he do in this type of situation? Should I maybe dye my hair light blue? But, being a far paler version of such a larger than life character, I chickened out. Dave and I sat opposite each other and the riders filled up the chairs either side of us. As there was quiet disappointment about the results so far, the riders were slightly subdued, none of them drinking anything more than water, and half of them eating vegetarian pasta. I was surprised at how little they ate and my guilt quietly rose as I ordered a hearty meal with crepes to finish - all washed down with a 2004 Sangiovese and a Moretti beer to start. How the hell do these guys fuel themselves I thought to myself. After about 2 hours of good chat, some banter and equally good food, it was decided they needed to get back to bed in preparation for the next days stage and off they went.
Dave and I, neither of whom is accustomed to settling down that early on a Saturday night wandered off to the Watermarq, a seriously tidy restaurant bar and, on leaving about $60 at the bar, wandered home to our respective hotels.
Sunday morning dawned - windy, overcast and about 7 degrees celsius - better them me I thought, contemplating the race ahead later that day. Dave and I had agreed to do a 40-50km ride and my bike was at the Big 4 Caravan Park where the team was staying - 3km out of town. Given that Drapac Pat's Veg were staying at the Parkview Hotel at $150 per room per night where I was, the contrast couldn’t have been starker. I wasn’t sure, but I think that our team had 2 rooms at Big 4. I called ahead to Tom and said we were on the way. On arriving I spied Aden Reynolds walking in the grounds of Big 4, maybe heading back from the ablution blocks. I knocked on the door and was greeted by the unmistakable waft that only about five young men can emit as a result of all doors and windows being closed for 10 hours in a very small space. “Phew, it’s funky in here”, I said to Tom. Sam Burston, cheerily welcomed me from the double bed he shared with 2 bikes, 8 wheel bags and an assortment of bike parts. My son, I was told was somewhere in there but buggered if I could make him out amongst the organised cacophony of dishevelled bunk beds, Focus Bikes Izalcos, CUORE of Switzerland mFR kit, rider bags, spare wheels, helmets, gels, mFR bidons, bananas and bike tools.
Although it was rudimentary, there was no doubting the camaraderie that this type of shared experience created and I thought that the whole thing was really neat - albeit, not how Team Sky or Movistar spent their days off the bike.
Dave and I did our ride, running into a local GP who adopted us and took us on part of his Sunday ride, chatting away in friendly interrogation as we tacked upwind for most of the time. Finishing our ride we had coffee, showered, changed, checked out of our hotels and headed to Sam Miranda Winery for the start of Stage 4.
On arrival, the womens race was in the last 10km, eventually being won by Macey Stewart from Tasmania. But what really amazed me was the lack of crowds and the fairly basic set up generally. Apart from a marquee which abutted the podium that consisted of 3 stacks of wooden pallets with a sponsors logo backdrop and good sized Airstream vintage looking stainless steel caravan that was it for catering - $15 gourmet sausages in a roll were tasty, but not THAT tasty. There were assorted vendors in small tents scattered about, but it was probably a bit sad generally. There were a number of open brasiers around which were huddled a number of spectators, some male riders waiting for the main race and support staff. The wind howled across the vineyards and the a commentator did a solid job of keeping the small crowd informed of the u/19 race and masters race that finished while we were waiting. Dave and I headed to the Sam Miranda tasting room and no matter what you say, 11.30am is a bit early to start quaffing red, but we soldiered on.
With the race due to start at 1.30pm, the teams started to arrive from about noon onwards. Our guys arrived about 12.30 and began their warm up - I admired the new front bonnet mFR decal on the team Golf wagon. Having done various competitive sports myself during my life, I knew enough to stay away as the riders warmed up and got themselves mentally prepared - you don’t need empty chit chat at these times and the team got about getting themselves into their respective zones. Jesse Coyle sat in the car while this happened as his warm up consisted of the ride from the Big 4 to the start line - every man for himself I thought - maybe not a great thing - who knows? He is one of our GC guys so he must know what he’s doing.
The plan was for Dave and I to go in the mobius car with Tom - Mitch Wright’s grandfather Bill came along as well which was great. Dave and I went to the team managers briefing as Tom was busy attending to various last minute tasks - this I thought was maybe not optimal but Tom clearly had his hands full and without a soigneur, I had doubts he was going to be ready - I was wrong. As vehicle 11 in the convoy based on the position of our best placed rider we were in the thick of it. Tom gave me a 15 second briefing of what my job was in case of a rider flat and we were off.
In the vehicle, I had a soft esky at my feet, full of bidons - I moved my seat forward so Dave had some room so it was pretty squeezy - I wondered if I should have had a quick comfort stop but it was too late for that - the race two way radio crackled into life and the race was on. Within minutes, the commissaire came over the air reporting that a mobius rider had a flat. Streuth I thought, this stuff just got real. Now Tom Petty is well known in the convoy as one who only has eyes for his team and I got to see that up close. Volkswagen Golfs I’m certain are not best placed into Park while still moving but Tom has long perfected the slow, deliberate grind that assists in both stopping the vehicle through unintended automatic gear box braking and keeping the vehicle participants wincing the whole time. "Bloody hell”, Tom I thought, "this is my car mate!” I leapt out of the car, grabbed the front wheel spare and handed it off to Tom who deftly replaced the unflappable James Fouche's front wheel as the convoy whizzed past us. Back into the car we leapt, James climbed onto his bike and we paced him back to the back of the peloton, all the while tooting and blowing the car horn - organised chaos. Already riders were starting to be shelled and we were barely 10km into the race. Not 10 minutes later, race radio reported a crash "mobius rider was down - number 37" Mitch Wright had hit the deck. What? This was getting out of hand - again we sped through the convoy coming upon Mitch who was clearly in pain but the ambulance team were on the spot and whilst he wasn’t good and would need to retire, we needed to get back into the convoy. I was amazed at how calm his grandfather Bill, in the mFR car remained, re-assuring Mitch that it was fine to retire and zoom, we were off again.
It was hard to see what was going on ahead in the peloton and I kept glancing forward when a bend in the road afforded us a view of the pack - the mFR kit is widely thought of as one of the best in the NRS and the blue top section of jersey and the matching blue POC Sports - Australia & New Zealand helmets mean that MFR riders are often relatively easy to make out in a pack - so far so good - it seemed that most of our riders were not visible from where we were so that suggested they were in the front half of the pack heading into the first of 3 climbs for the day. By this time James Fouche had been in a break that had gone not long after he had his flat but had been caught. Tom commented that that was classic James Fouche, hit back when you are down.
Over the climb, more riders were dropped, but as we made our way through the riders whose day was now over, still none were mFR - so far so good. By this time, the wind, which was probably averaging 25-30kph was also becoming a greater factor as echelons came and went, riders fighting for survival. As the pack wound its way up the second climb of the day, things started to get nasty, riders again being dropped but still none of our boys. Then, out of the blue blurted race radio - “mobius rider needs assistance” Tom, ever vigilant floored it, racing up the climb to where Aidan Kampers stood, rear stay broken as a result of the rider in front of him chopping off causing him to crash. Aiden was given a spare bike (Mitch's), and took off on a bike where the seat was maybe 15cm too low. We came up along side him and Tom explained that we would measure his bike and at the earliest opportunity we would stop and Tom would adjust the seat height on the bike he was on. This happened about 5km later and I was astounded as, at close to 65kph, we paced him back onto the rear of the peloton. Unfortunately for Aiden, that was as far as we could get him back and the group he rejoined was too far back for him to have any chance of catching back on to the leading group at this stage off the race. He said that he had great legs that day, so the disappointment was magnified.
Sitting in the car, you couldn’t help but feel admiration for these young men - racing at the top level in the country - pummelled by conditions, luck and some of the finest athletes in Australia, still struggling forlornly to get back on as the convoy sped past - dreams maybe in tatters (at least for that day), who knows - it’s somehow not fair that 400 watts isn’t enough to stay in the bike race.
With the business end of the race approaching and over 2 hours of racing completed the final climb up Taminick Gap loomed as the decisive part of the race. Up the climb some riders attacked and it was carnage from there on. About a third the way up the climb we came upon Aaron Bicknell, shelled and not happy, but still chasing - so it begins I thought. Still, there was Aden Reynolds, Sam Burston, James Fouche and Jesse Coyle up the road. Over the top of the climb we saw Sam Burston, who mentioned James and Jesse were still up the road with about 20km remaining. We came upon Aden pretty soon after. By this time we were stopped from going any further up through the race so were were not sure how Jesse and James were doing, except that according to race radio, they were not in the break.
From there, we wound our way back through the rest of the field as they battled to the finish line, arriving to find James and Jesse at the mFR van. James seemed distracted, but remarkably fresh as he reflected on his race. Turns out that he and Jesse came in top 20. Soon after Aden rolled in 50th, then Sam and Aaron rolled in together, followed by Aiden.
Overall, on GC James came 15th, Jesse 16th and Aden 47th - on teams GC we came 5th out of 23 teams. I think we were expecting top three at least, so that part of it was disappointing for the team.
As the riders mingled reflecting on the day, I wondered if it would be good to all sit down, grab a bite to eat and drink and just chill. But no, there was a 7 hour drive ahead of most so they got changed where they could, grabbed whatever they could to refuel and started packing the cars.
One thing is for sure, the riders and the NRS don’t get anywhere near the interest or airplay that you would expect this type of incredibly tough and fascinating contest should attract. I know that my friends that are my vintage and ride with me are all fascinated and fully appreciative of how tough it is, plus they generally have the financial capacity to contribute some way - it is just a matter of working out how to get them engaged. ... See MoreSee Less
Sam Miranda King Valley Tour of King Valley race report, powered by Blue Dinosaur
TTing with the brakes on.
Sub zero temperatures.
On the back of a strong Tour of the Great South Coast, expectations were understandably high, we turned up to King Valley understanding the TT results on stage 1 would lay a very formidable foundation for the final GC, but the experience to know that the race is never over until it’s finished.
We prepared very well, we’d managed to avoid the brutal winter flu that has been circulating and we were sure the race suited our strengths. Jesse Coyle, Sam Burston and James Fouche all very strong time trialists, we were expecting to be racing from the front. For all the clichés and management techniques to manage defeat, we were bitterly disappointed with the results. Just sneaking into the top 20 wasn’t the plan. For many aspiring elite athlete’s, managing this is really difficult, all riders have their mental struggles, the sacrifices and put in a lot of hard work to be at their best. When it doesn’t work out, there’s no amount of “lets review what happened and see how we can improve next time” or “there’s still more racing to come” that can reconcile all that work done for not the right result.
I may be (very) biased here, but watching the team process this together and then the way they approached each stage after this result, really showed their true character, the fun we had, the effort, the professionalism, it really is a great group of guys to be working with and it always leaves me feeling sad when the racing finishes. �
With day one of the tour being a double day, the bike work is finished the day before, but the day still starts at 6am, loading our Focus Bikes onto the vehicles, a brief pause, to admire how perfectly clean everything is, the sun creeping through -1 degrees and fog, a sudden reminder that i was no longer in Europe enjoying summer. Angus Lyons had made the journey up from Melbourne to help his team mates, a tough Victorian and infinitely more prepared than I for the conditions, I allowed him to fasten the bikes to the roof as my fingers had stopped working.
The TT went exceptionally smoothly, the results trickling in, the IsoWhey Sports - Swiss Wellness p/b Cervélo juggernaut showing that they are still the undisputed kings of road bike TT’s, with Joe Cooper winning the stage.
Stage 2 was an interesting event, with the entry numbers almost doubling, a great sign of the rising popularity, the course for the criterium became too short to make the race a fair event. The stage was neutralized in the sense that the results wouldn't effect GC, but the racing was still definitely on. NSWIS rider Liam Magennis continued to show his form from the USA and the TT, taking off up the road with Freiburg from IsoWhey, with Freiburg eventually taking the stage.
Stage 3 was the famous Strade Nero Road Race - 120kms through the King Valley Wine Region navigating sectors and climbs on gravel service roads. With the crit finishing at 5pm and all the usual post race work, we had a long night ahead of us to prepare the bikes for the next stage - starting at 8am. We recorded our first victory here, the first team at the start, we were definitely going to win the awarded for most "warmed up". Last year we didn't suffer one mechanical during the stage, so it was back to the same preparation in a bid to keep it this way. On narrow gravel roads, it’s exceptionally difficult to service riders, a puncture can mean the end of the day for a rider, or a hell of a lot of energy to get back to the right group. We were hoping this extra preparation could make the difference for our riders in a bid to take the race on. The plan was simple, force a selection over the Category 1 climb, with a few GC riders and attempt to stay away. The aim was to reposition ourselves so we could have more to play for the next day.
At kilometer 19, the days racing hardly underway, we had Jesse narrowly avoid a crash before a key section, luckily Mitch Wright was calm under pressure, quickly stopped and changed wheels with Jesse which halved his time to get back to the bunch. From here, our car was seemingly teleported at warp speed to the finish, white dust surrounded the car with the occasional figure standing by the side of the road holding a wheel in the air and looking pissed off. We stopped trying to identify who these silhouettes were.
Surfacing for air at the finish, we learned the plan was executed well, but with IsoWhey deciding to not follow, believing in their strength to neutralize the threat, it meant a small group of 5 or 6 including us, NSWIS, Drapac Pat's Veg, InForm Tineli and Oliver's Real Food Racing, went clear and pushed on despite Ryan Thomas of Olivers sitting on in what seemed like a good move. It wasn’t an easy chase but IsoWhey dragged it back with just 6kms remaining after almost 40kms of work. Our guys worked perfectly behind, but a mistake, and a flawless NSWIS lead out gave NSWIS 1st and 3rd on the stage with fellow Sydney team Nero Racing taking 2nd, making it a NSW cleansweep on the podium!
After failing to improve our position, we were still mostly happy with how the team was riding. It’s easy to forget how young our team is, Mitch Wright was making his NRS debut at 17, Aidan Kampers and James Fouché just 19, Jesse, Aden Reynolds, Aaron Bicknell and Sam all still early 20’s. In the mix of racing UCI Continental teams like IsoWhey, Drapac and NSWIS, it’s easy to forget how high the level is here domestically in australia, despite the lack of coverage, the NRS is still very strong.
We took some time out on Saturday night and enjoyed a lovely dinner with some sponsors at one of Wangaratta’s nicest Italian restaurants, before mentally switching back on for the final stage. With the wind up, small talk at the picturesque Sam Miranda Winery was quickly consumed entirely by weather talk as everyone lost the ability to have a normal conversation in the freezing gale.
Stage 4 had 3 kom’s, 5 crashes and limited radio coverage. From a woeful car 11, we were unsurprisingly busy, it was a delight to have some great company in the car, but with James puncturing early on, it was set to be one of those days again. Next up to suffer some drama was young Mitch, crashing in a tailwind section is never recommended, he landed hard on his elbow (which wasn’t funny) and had to abandon. Reports later confirmed he’s okay, just needing a few stitches. Settling back in to our car, with an extra spare bike on the roof, Aidan Kampers was the next to come undone by the classic SMIDSY, having his front wheel taken out up the 2nd KOM, not ideal, we adjusted Mitch’s bike and got him going again. It was also at this point i noticed the “beware Carpet Pythons next 6km” sign on the side of the road. The NRS is definitely scenic.
Finally the much discussed wind “did something” and the final 10kms run into the line was filled with echelons with riders on the limit, IsoWhey still doing the damage, as James Fouché rode excellently to finish 12th and move up to 15th on GC.
Tour finished, a quick debrief sharing some stories and final laughs, we hopped into the cars to tackle a 6.5hr drive back to Sydney, arriving home at midnight.
A massive thank you to Angus Lyons, Guy Bicknell, Dave Riddell for their help and Sam Miranda for hosting such a great event. It’s a great winery and a beautiful region well worth visiting.
Next up we have Subaru National Road Series Amy’s Otway Race starting in Apollo Bay, Victoria, where we’re determined to get the results we feel our efforts been worth.
Words by DS Tom Petty
Photos Con Chronis Photography ... See MoreSee Less
Port of Portland - Fulton Hogan Tour of the Great South Coast race report, powered by Blue Dinosaur
Stage 1: Good
Stage 2: Great
Stage 3: Incredible
Stage 4: Impressive
Stage 5: Oh dear.
Stage 6: Self destructing in 3,2,1...
A week of all the emotions, all the weather conditions and a whole load of hard work, lead to an impressive team performance which whilst we took the leaders jersey on stage 3, we weren't able to retain it after a strong performance from Brad Evans (Drapac - Pat's Veg) and his team.
To add some back story, in 2015 we showed up with 5 riders, 2 of whom were sick, two u19's and the majority of the work left with Aden Reynolds - Not ideal, but we still started to learn how to race here. In 2016, we returned with a team raring to go, fronted by the kiwi trio Nick Kergozou De La Boessiere, James Fouche and Robert Stannard with Rob loving his first NRS tour so much, he decided to change nationalities. We left with two stage wins and a 1-2 on the queen stage. The race was the start of Rob's upward trajectory that year, which lead to him joining Mitchellton-Scott in 2017.
For this year, we focused on recruiting strong riders that would add firepower on hard stages, composure under pressure and the ability to get as many guys at the front so we had options. A big recruit was Jesse Coyle, a rider Tom Petty had mentored a bit in 2016 and kept an eye on, with the view to slowly developing. Jesse was given a good program encouraging him to work on specific areas of his racing, to bring him up to speed. To call him a "rookie" is a little offensive, he's a very calculating rider who loves to take a race on and is developing the horsepower to match. Also adding to our team for the race was extremely talented VIS duo Angus Lyons and Ethan Berends, road captain Conor Murtagh, the inseparable pair Sam Burston and Aden Reynolds as well rising WA star Craig Wiggins.
We planned this tour a long time in advance, with a lot of preparation, we knew we would set ourselves up well, but before the tour started, we had the please of doing some local school visits with Discover Mount Gambier. It's great to be able to visit the schools and show them what can be achieved and share or echo some important messages. The first school (Reidy Park Primary) we mainly talked about the importance of effort over just results, and the benefit of the right attitude. At Tenison Woods, Angus, Aden and Jesse were lucky to talk to the High perfomance students to give them some more insight into the specifics of training and cycling at a high level.
For the tour we were luckily joined by one of the most experienced Soigneur's in Warren Docker, who told us the last race he worked on he won, and couldn't afford any slips in his CV... no pressure.
Day one was a double day which unsurprisingly had the usual amounts of rain, but nothing would be as bad as last years mid race hail storm! We started with the aim of all of our key riders picking up time bonuses and finishing the stage on bunch time. Which worked well with Jesse, Ethan and Sam all getting seconds. The race was already taking shape with Drapac riders Brad Evans and Matt Ross looking very strong and IsoWhey looking their usual self.
Stage 3 was where things got interesting, with big wind and rain predicted for the longest stage, survival was on the cards for some riders, but we had strong ambitions to blow the race in our favour. Interestingly, this happened 9kms into the race, instead of in the last 30kms where we planned to take it up. The first left hand turn was vital, we came into the corner in good position, with instant gutter action, each rider scrambled and fought for every bit of shelter. The race blew to piece and we ended up with 5 riders in a group of 20 at the front. Unfortunately Aden found him self totally caught out which lead to a punishing day out for him, whilst Craig was very close to making the split, only to run out of power to battle the top riders. Into the finish, Jesse rode across to the small split forming, at this stage, most riders had stopped being able to change gears due to the hours of freezing conditions, and hands barely able to move, the sprint was a drag race with Liam White taking a victory with Jesse Coyle announcing himself with 2nd place and taking the leaders jersey. Ethan Berends moved into the young riders jersey too.
Stage 4 was newer territory for the guys, having to defend the jersey, the plan was simply to contain the race at the start without using too much energy to really try and take it on in the second half in the narrow roads and hillier terrain. Drapac were too strong for on the day, and we made a few small errors, miscalculating some on road time bonuses that saw us lose the jersey by 1second. What we'd do to have that second back now! We were bitterly disappointed to lose the jersey after the hard work, but knew the race was still wide open.
Stage 5 was set to be a difficult stage, with 4x29km laps with some steep hills and more cross wind sections. The day started what can only be described as terribly with Angus and Jesse puncturing in neutral and the comissiaire starting the race without us. Luckily there was some good sportsmanship within the bunch, allowing us to return. We hoped to use the wind again, but unfortunately it wasn't working enough to split the race. We had more punctures with Jesse and Angus at really bad times in the race, thankfully Angus and Craig waited for Jesse and incredibly rode through bunch after bunch on the road to get Jesse back to the front. The work here really took it's toll on us and Drapac attacked, which weren't able to follow. Thanks to Craig, Sam, Aden, with a few riders from Oliver's Real Food Racing we managed to reduce the gap, before Angus and Conor doing the rest after the climbs to bring back the threat with just a few kms remaining. Scott Sunderland from IsoWhey Sports - Swiss Wellness p/b Cervélo went on to win the stage. We'd conceded more ground to Brad Evans on GC, but had fought all day to keep our race alive.
Stage 6 was the final stage a technical crit in Portland with a lot of time bonuses on offer. Jesse went on the attack with Brad Evans and even under control from IsoWhey, were gradually picking up bonus seconds. It meant Jesse wouldn't beat Brad overall of course, but we wanted to try and put Olivers on the back foot. An incredible effort from Ryan Thomas here, and some luck with Brad Evans sliding out on one of the corners left jesse out front on his own which was incredibly hard going. With sprinting for time bonuses not really our strength, Ryan Thomas and Liam White kept chipping away. Into the final 3 laps and unfortunately a crash right at the front took down almost the entire GC contenders. A bad way to end our race with Jesse and Aden a bit banged up and with damaged bikes. A count back on stage places moved Jesse down to 4th on GC but that's not an excuse, we were still proud of the way we rode but were beaten by better riders who had also worked very hard.
A big thank you to Warren Docker, to our sponsors for their support and everyone for all their messages of encouragement along the way, we are already fired up for Tour of King Valley in late August!
Images by Con Chronis Photography ... See MoreSee Less