At the end of 2018 we set down what we wanted our team to achieve in 2019. This can best be summed up by the following three goals:
• Maintain our ranking and stature as the best domestic team in the NRS and Oceania
• Achieve success at an international level i.e. win UCI classified events
• Position our best riders for progression to the World Tour
The Australian summer was probably the most successful in the team’s history with some outstanding results at the Nationals, Tour Down Under, Cadel’s Great Ocean Road Race and the Sun Tour. Following this success it was important that we maintained the momentum and I’m proud to be able to share, in this second season update, how we have.
At a high level, we are well on track to achieve our goals:
Oceania team ranking (May 18th):
1st – Team BridgeLane 925 points
2nd – St George Racing Team 517 points
3rd - Australian Cycling Academy 413 points
NRS team ranking (May 18th):
1st – Team BridgeLane 545 points
2nd – Team Inform Make 278 points
3rd - Australian Cycling Academy 250 points
NRS individual ranking (May 18th):
1st – Dylan Sunderland (TeamBridgeLane) 200 points
2nd – Nick White (BridgeLane) 200 points
3rd – Will Hodges (Olivers Racing) 185 points
Working towards challenging performance goals is difficult enough at the best of times, I’ve been really proud to see the way our athletes and staff have gone above and beyond, focusing on the task at hand, despite the adjustment between management structures. If it wasn’t for their efforts, we wouldn’t have achieved such early season success, and I’m grateful for their continued support, whilst we work towards our long term goals.
Our team has the hope of one day growing to the next tier in professional cycling - a UCI Pro Continental license. It’s a dream of ours to be lining up in the biggest race here in Australia, the Tour Down Under as our own team, but just as important, we want to fill the progression gap that currently exists in this country between the Continental and World Tour levels. With the winding up of the Drapac Pro Continental team several years ago and funding of Australia’s U23 program recently ending, this gap is wider than its been in over a decade.
At a local level, we’ve been enjoying some training and coffee rides with juniors here in NSW, including our Manly Warringah Cycle Club u19’s and u17’s. These guys have been taking podiums at mountain bike races and at the recent Junior Tour of Canberra, but watching their enjoyment and development over the years has been a pleasure.
An emphatic victory for u23 national champion Nick White as he adds his name to the Melbourne to Warrnambool honour list
The new route for “The Warnie” was a welcome change, with sections of the great ocean road promising windy and tough conditions for the race from Avalon to Warrnambool.
The 280km race was ridden very aggressively from the start, with the bunch nervous about the prospect of strong winds and not wanting to miss the breakaway. Eventually a strong selection forced its way clear, with all teams represented. It soon became evident that the winner would come from this group and we were happy to have Nick White represented. Given his recent form, we felt he was the most likely winner should the group stay clear.
Attacks started from this elite 14 rider group with 40kms to go, with Nick White having to work hard and mark his counterparts. The final 20km was extremely tough racing, but Nick was showing his strength and became the aggressor leading into the final. As they rounded the final bend into Warnnambool high street, Nick rode the perfect sprint and won convincingly from the remains of the group.
18 year old Tyler Lindorff proves his ability in hard and hilly Oceania championship, winning the u23 title
Another aggressive race which has time and time again delivered one of the most dynamic races on the calendar. The picturesque setting of north Tasmania, and a hilly circuit, brought out the best in the domestic field once again. With the race starting at the base of the climb, we saw enough watts in the main field to power a football stadium. After sever promising moves early on, a strong break formed mid race with Chris Harper later going solo, in a bid to repeat last years win. It was an ominous showing from Harper who had only just returned to training following a break after his summer campaign. In the end, however, Harper had to settle for a podium with Ben Dyball producing an incredible ride for a deserved solo win.
In the U23s, our guys dominated with Tyler Lindorff riding clear in the closing kilometres to take the victory and Peter Livingstone covering any attempts from others to bridge and still managing to round out the podium. In the TT, Alastair Christie-Johnston showed why he is considered one of the best emerging time triallists in Australia. Shortly after taking the win in the Victorian state championships, Alastair was unfortunately hit by a car out training. Not deterred by the disruption, he worked hard in the lead up to Oceania’s to finish a close second on the day.
Team sponsor, Maia Financial, joined us for the weekend, which was an enjoyable for us and them (we think)! It’s great when the opportunity presents to bring our partners and sponsors closer to the action and I encourage you to please let me know if you’d like to join us at an event.
Nick White powers to first UCI stage win at Tour de Taiwan (2.1) after exceptional lead out
Taiwan was our first UCI Asia Tour race for 2019. It’s a race we know well and went in with high hopes of winning the overall.
Unfortunately we made mistakes in the lead in to the finishing sprints in stage 1 and 2, leaving us frustrated. On stage 3, a stage we hadn’t thought we stood as good a chance at winning, we executed on a fine lead out, with Hayden McCormick, Scott Bowden and Ayden a Toovey doing a fantastic job for Nick. Nick easily won the sprint, putting him onto equal time with the race overall lead.
Despite losing Jason Lea to a crash, the 4th stage began well with the team setting up Nick up and intermediate sprint win which pushed him into the race lead. After a long summer, however, the final climb up to Sun Moon Lake proved just a little too much for Nick, and he was dropped from the selection which made it over the top. Scott Bowden held on to the front and contested the sprint finish for an impressive 4th place.
Overall, it was a solid showing for the team but we were left wanting to turn the efforts into better GC success and stage results. We will have several more chances to do so in Asia over the coming months.
Sunderland and Ward take 2nd and 3rd in inaugural Brisbane Classic
In its first year, the Brisbane Classic was a great event. Racing in the heart of a major CBD, the event attracted a massive amount of recreational riders competing across various rides and kids challenges. This created a festive atmosphere which added to the enjoyment of everyone present.
As for the race itself, the selection was made as the riders headed up the popular Mt Coot-tha climb, with the fast pace leading to four riders breaking clear before the top. The group was eventually whittled down to just two, Freienstein of InForm and Sunderland from our team. Sunderland just lost out to Freienstein in the sprint, with Tristan Ward taking 3rd with the fastest legs in the bunch sprint behind. We finished with 4 riders inside the top 10, showing our strength and taking the Team’s classification as a result.
Deja vu! The team take 2nd and 3rd in a tough, windy edition of the Grafton to Inverell
This year’s Grafton was an unrelenting day in which the break took a long time to establish. While the 20km Gibralter climb gets all the press, the early terrain is still difficult with plenty of climbs before the main climb of the day.
It was during this early period that the first dangerous break established. We had the local hope, Sunderland, present before Joe Cooper bridged across on the range with one other rider. The race would continue to split and change, with Ayden Toovey and Nick White making their way across to put us in a dominant position numbers wise but not a winning one due to the composition. After 160kms the race was essentially back together with 50-60 riders remaining in contention.
More splits and attacks lead to another dangerous move, with White and Sunderland present yet again. Eventually it was just two at the front, with Sunderland and Hodges going to the line and Sunderland getting pipped for the win. White powered home to take 3rd which resulted in back to back races where two of our guys had to cop a champagne shower and another where we had to content ourselves with the Teams classification win as consolation.
Please keep an eye on our social media over the next month as we have a very busy period coming up
• Tour of Bihor (Romania) 7-9 June
• Tour of Hungary 11-16 June
• Tour de Korea 12-16 June
• Tour of Savoie Mont Blanc (France) 20-24 June