In just two years African Wildlife Safaris Cycling Team (AWSCT) has grown from a concept to one of the best equipped and performing cycling teams in Australia’s domestic competition. 2014 is looking to be the biggest season yet for AWSCT who are set to take on the full National Road Series (NRS) calendar and potentially more as the team is awaiting confirmation of its application to register as a UCI Continental Team.
Success would allow the team to compete in the Jayco Herald-Sun Tour and other UCI 2.1 events this year. Driven by a charter to develop young riders and to contribute to society beyond racing, a longer racing calendar, strengthened roster and new committed industry partners is hoped to provide the opportunities for achieving these aims.
"It's with committed and passionate backers like African Wildlife Safaris CEO Stephen Cameron and progressive cycling industry heavyweights that cycling in Australia can thrive and strive to produce the next generation of professional racers," team manager and co-founder Steven Waite said.
The 13-man 2014 AWSCT roster includes eight riders from 2013, Jeremy Cameron, Rhys Gillett, Jarryd Jones, Daniel Nelson, Zachary Quinn, James Rendall, Tyler Spurrell and Darcy Woolley. The five new signings for the team, Trevor Spencer, Jason Spencer, Nathan Elliot, Shaun O'Callaghan and Kyle Thompson, all join with the aim to build on the family-like bond and efficiency amongst the team which culminated in success in 2013.
Over 50 global candidates applied for a 2014 berth, a sign of the progression of the NRS and the developing status of the AWSCT.
Sports Director Joel Pearson welcomed the new signings as complementing the existing roster while adding depth and quality. "Jason and Trevor Spencer are proven race winners and both have an attacking style of racing and GC potential. Nathan Elliot is a quiet guy who has one of the biggest engines going around proven in the recent Grafton-Inverell where he finished in third place," Pearson said.
"Shaun O'Callaghan joined us as a result of our end of year training and selection camp and despite his quiet manner will turn some heads this year. These four will complement Rhys Gillett who has proven in 2013 he can win on the NRS circuit, building a very competitive climbing GC team."
Confirming AWSCT's commitment to the development of young riders is the addition of final signing, talented 18-year-old Kyle Thompson ensuring that over 60% of the roster are under 23-years-of-age.
AWSCT continues its commitment to safety with naming sponsor African Wildlife Safaris extending its long relationship with charity partner, The Amy Gillett Foundation, to ensure a safe environment for all cyclists.
Having ridden on Giant bicycles in 2013, AWSCT has also announced new a partnership with Cannondale Bicycles who are returning domestically to sponsorship after a three year absence.
Team bikes for 2014 will feature the best in SRAM group sets, Enve Composites wheels, CeramicSpeed bearings, PowerTap GPS computers, Lezyne accessories, Fi’zi:k saddles and, Fi’zi:k components due to heavy sponsorship from leading cycling industry organisation Monza Imports Australia.
CylceOps trainers, Drift Innovations Professional HD Action Camera and Fi’zi:k shoes have also joined the sponsor list for 2014 while Sportful Custom Cycle Clothing, Powerbar and Musashi continue their support of the team.
The team kicked off 2014 at the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic in Geelong and will next be seen at Cycling Australia National Road Championships in Ballarat. The full racing schedule for 2014 will depend on its application for a UCI Continental licence.