The Subaru NSWIS & MS Development Cycling Team is back in action this week at the Tour of the Great South Coast (ToGSC) as part of Cycling Australia’s National Road Series (NRS).
Following an extended midseason break due to the cancellation of the Tour of the Murray, six of the team’s riders are fresh from two team camps in the NSW Southern Highlands, with Nathan Bradshaw set to lead fellow riders Harry Carter, Jordan Payne, Tirian McManus, Jackson Law and Nick Yallouris at the ToGSC.
Team captain Bradshaw said the camps were a strong building block and the group is now looking to put their learnings into action this week.
“At the first camp we focused on longer rides and getting that endurance phase in, including a few sprint challenges along the way. We also worked on coming into the sprint, which is something I think we really needed to do with a few new riders to the team. We all needed to learn how each other rides and we gelled really well,” Bradshaw reflected.
“The second camp was more of a team time trial based camp where the main focus was on power and being consistent in our turns. We’ve grown up racing with each other, so we know how each other rides, but the camps were about finetuning that knowledge and finding out where everyone else’s strengths were and using them effectively. Surprisingly it didn’t take long to get into the groove of it.
“We also learnt a lot about talking on the road and knowing how everyone was feeling during the ride, so that will come into play a lot because there are a few key stages where we’ll need to knuckle down and be one as a unit.
“If we can all just work together like we’ve been doing at the camps I’m sure we’ll be fine and we’ll see some great results.”
Starting on Wednesday 12th in Mt Gambier, South Australia with a criterium, the ToGSC continues along the southern coast of Australia into Victoria before finishing at Port Fairy on Sunday 16th. The tour is littered with climbs and difficult racing, most notably the second stage on the opening day of racing, and stage five on Friday.
Having raced in the event during the 2014 NRS, Bradshaw is aware of the challenges that await the team this week.
“There are a lot of criterium races, so the team leadouts will be essential if we want to have any chance of getting on the podium. All the stages are key in this one because there are time bonuses on the sprints and King of the Mountain stages,” Bradshaw said.
“The second stage is 10 laps of a 6.5km circuit with 3km climb, so almost half of the stage is climbing, which if the wind picks can be a deciding factor, especially so early in the tour.”
“On the third day there’s a petty hard road race in the afternoon (stage five) after a criterium in the morning, so you’re coming in with tired legs.
“There is a lot of climbing in that stage, and last year the race was won from there because we saw a lot of time gaps from that stage. If you’re going to have any chance of winning the tour you have to be on your A game, and most likely you’re going to need a huge team effort because it’s such a hard stage.”
This year’s Subaru NSWIS & MS team is filled with a host of great riders, and despite the inclement weather and challenging racing, Bradshaw is looking forward to leading a group laden with talent.
“I was a bit shocked to get team captain again this year because we’ve got Jackson Law, who’s been a world champion; Nick Yallouris, who’s going to the Para-World Championships, and Tirian McManus, who’s been a world champion as well, so to get that was more of an honour than anything,” Bradshaw said.
“I’ve taken it (the captaincy) on well and it’s been a bit more hands on this year because we’re a lot stronger, so it’s good for us and I’m really excited for this tour.”
The Tour of the Great South Coast runs from 12-16 August 2015. Follow the team via Twitter @nswiscycling and Instagram @subaru_nswis_ms.