AIS graduate rides for Great Britain at Jayco Herald Sun Tour
The appearance of Australian Richard Lang on the Great Britain National Team at the Jayco Herald Sun Tour has been cause for some confusion.
Given the event is not sanctioned by the UCI, and that Lang holds a dual Australian-British passport, the Sydney-born 23-year-old was eligible for a guest spot on the team. Lang spent 2012 riding for the UK-based Rapha Condor - Sharp and with quite a few of the British National team unavailable with track duties ahead of the world championships in Minsk, it was an opportunity Lang couldn't pass up.
Whether this week's stint could signal a more-permanent move, was something Lang was unwilling to rule out.
"Who knows?" he told Cyclingnews.
Lang's form is building nicely ahead of next week's Cycling Australia Road National Championships, then, he will return to the UK for the Raleigh 2013 team presentation where he will race this season. Heading into the Sun Tour's final stage at Arthurs Seat, Lang is out of contention for the overall but the fast all-rounder showed plenty of promise on the tough Stage 1 which was very much a form-guide for the nationals, finishing 10th.
2012 was as much about Lang finding his own feet, as it was about delivering impressive wins for Rapha Condor at the East Yorkshire Classic circuit race and the Leases Park circuit race. Lang graduated from the Australian domestic Budget Forklifts outfit, into the highly successful Jayco-AIS program where he rode until 2011. While he's not about to knock the Australian development program, he does admit that he felt restricted by its confines.
"Last year was the year I've learned the most about myself," Lang explained of his time at Rapha Condor - Sharp. "I really took control of what I was doing. While I was with the AIS, you're sort of, not dictated [to] but you're told what to do with your training and that kind of thing.
"I don't believe I fitted the mould," he continued. "I enjoy cycling a lot more when I have my own flat and take a little bit more control of my own things. It did provide me with awesome opportunities. It is a really good platform and I did learn a lot racing in Italy. But I do enjoy having my own space.
"The program's second to none. You can't complain about that."
Lang remains firm in his belief that the UK route is the best path for him if he is to achieve his goal of turning professional. In 2013, Lang will be one of four Australians at Raleigh, joined by Lachlan Norris, Sam Witmitz and Mark O'Brien.
"I think you always plan to try and turn pro sooner but it is a hard game," he said. "You have to be patient and the UK is a good move for me. My girlfriend can work and still pursue her own goals and I can still pursue mine - it’s a good compromise."