The Subaru NSWIS and MS team have hit the road this week, heading north for the Tour of Toowoomba. The team’s first race in the National Road Series for 2015 is expected to be challenging, with the bigger stages being the longest some of the team have ever raced over.
Coach Kevin Poulton, who has come on board for 2015, noted that big changes had been made in the NRS for 2015, with the distance of many of the races expanded significantly.
“I think they were conscious of making it more competitive for riders going overseas and closing the gap between the NRS and ProTour events. The Tour of Toowoomba in particular will reflect that, with big road stages rather than lots of circuits or criteriums,” said Poulton.
With the increase in kilometres, team captain Nathan Bradshaw is interested to see where the team’s skills can take them.
“Being longer, there will be more tactics, more teamwork – with a 4 hour stage a lot can happen,” said Bradshaw. “Everyone does the hours for these longer races, but it is just about eating and drinking properly and knowing when to relax or be at the front.”
The tour starts today with a 153km road race through undulating and exposed countryside, with another two long road stages to come. Riders face a 160km afternoon stage on Friday, following an Individual Time Trial in the morning, and a 136km stage on Saturday, which is expected to be one of the toughest days in the tour’s history.
This year’s edition of the Tour of Toowoomba sees 2014 guest rider Chris Bryan taking up his permanent position in the team alongside another trackie-turned-roadie, Tirian McManus, also new to the squad for 2015. Returning from a series of injuries is Nathan Bradshaw as well as Ayden Toovey, Sam Jenner and Harrison Carter. Guest rider Troy Herfoss has swapped his moto for a pushie, to ride with the team following his win at this year’s Blayney to Bathurst.
Starting the Series in Toowoomba in 2014 and following up with the Battle on the Border ahead of the season break was a format that worked well for the team in 2014, with the team’s best results following in the latter part of the season.