Mens peloton set for challenging debut #NRS17

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14 Sep 2017 Cycling Australia

2017 Subaru National Road Series (NRS) - Amy’s Otway Tour 

The men’s Subaru National Road Series (NRS) peloton make its debut at one of the country’s most iconic events this weekend, Amy’s Otway Tour, in Lorne. Start Lists/Results

The two-day Tour – part of the Amy’s Gran Fondo weekend - will get the heart started on Saturday with the criterium on Lorne's foreshore which is punctuated by the 20% gradient 'Amy's Wall' feature. With time bonuses on offer throughout the stage, the sprinters will be keen to open up a lead on general classification before stage two.

Stage two on Sunday morning will see the peloton cover 120 kilometres and four categorised climbs through the Otway Ranges, the race will then traverse the Great Ocean Road, giving the sprinters a chance to compete for a stage win again.

Victoria’s Mathew Ross sits third overall on the elite and on top of the Young Rider’s rankings, and will head an exciting and focussed young Drapac Pat’s Veg outfit.

The form has been great not just for myself but our team as a whole, we have shown our strengths in all aspects of racing so far,” said Ross who finished runner up in the 228km epic Grafton to Inverell in May. 

At the Tour, Ross will be joined by the likes of Tour of Great South Coast stage winner Liam White and 2016 NRS stage winner Jesse Featonby in the Drapac Pat’s Veg line up.  

And with the outfit relinquishing its team’s GC lead to Isowhey Sports Swiss Wellness after August’s Tour of the King Valley, the team is fully focussed on closing the gap this weekend. 

“Amy's Otway Tour will suit us well, we believe with our team we can challenge the overall GC and points classifications at the tour,” said Ross, who took a look at the routes during a team course recon trip to Lorne last weekend. 

“We are excited to be racing this event.  It will be held in a very scenic part of Victoria, it will be an incredible event and I hope it continues in 2018 and beyond.”

Keen to ensure they stay on top, the depth-filled Isowhey Sports Swiss Wellness program has named another quality line up including former Melbourne to Warrnambool champion Nathan Elliott, former WorldTour rider Tim Roe and Perth's Michael Freiberg who enjoyed two stage wins at the Tour of King Valley.    

“Amy's put up a challenging course especially with a 10km climb straight out of the blocks, for the bigger riders like myself this will pose the biggest obstacle of the race,” said Freiberg, who will provide valuable support to the team’s climbing specialist across the tough course. 

“New courses in the NRS are always hard to predict as you don't know how the bunch will react.

“We think we have a solid climbing team here to tackle anything the course or the race should throw at us.”

While their names don’t currently feature on the current Subaru NRS rankings, two riders to watch this weekend are the Victoria duo of Lionel Mawditt (Inform Tinelli) and Rowan Dever (Oliver’s Real Racing).

The pair have already etched their names onto the event’s honour roll, with Mawditt recording the fastest time at the 2016 Amy's Gran Fondo in a field of more than 5000 participants, edging Dever by just two seconds to win the men’s 19-34 age category.

Mawditt, a former Australian Inline Skating Team representative, has been racing for just 18 months and is in his first season with the young Inform Tinelli outfit.

“This Tour will take in some of the best roads in Victoria and the atmosphere in Lorne last year was so unreal, so it makes great sense to bring the men's NRS into the fold," Mawditt added. "It definitely gives me confidence knowing the course, although being a Subaru NRS race this year means it's a completely different ball game. 

"It'll be interesting to see how the race is decided this year with the major climbs so far away from the finish.

"Inform Tinelli is a pretty young team, but we are starting to gel and find the podium, so we are excited to see what we can achieve at the first Amy's Otway Tour."

Similarly, Dever is excited to line up in the event in the Subaru NRS for his Oliver's outfit and the prospects challenging course will throw at the NRS peloton. 

"I'm looking forward to finally being able to race this course as an NRS event after having participated in the AGF as an individual for many years previously," said Dever, adding, "The other added bonus is that everyone driving down from Melbourne can stop off at the Oliver's Real Food just outside of Geelong to fuel up and support those who support cycling.

"The stage one criterium will be something interesting too because I know how steep The Wall is, which will make racing up it over and over again particularly challenging. 

"For stage two, it's such a challenging route and to finish along the Great Ocean Road is an added bonus. 

"With the flat run in to the finish I think there's a good chance there'll be a selection made up the back of Skenes Creek and a small bunch going to the line, so hopefully I'll be there to help team mates who are capable of a good bunch finish."

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