Strong field building ahead of next week's start
With the opening twilight prologue under a week away, several more teams have announced their squads for the UCI 2.1 Jayco Herald Sun Tour which visits Melbourne, Bendigo, Ballarat, Nagambie and Arthur’s Seat. Having moved to early February in order to attract an international field, the race has certainly succeeded with the WorldTour teams Garmin-Sharp, Cannondale and Orica-GreenEdge all competing.
The change in date allows riders to compete at the Tour Down Under, NZ Cycle Classic and the Sun Tour for an extended racing period in Australia and New Zealand.
While the WorldTour teams, minus Cannondale who has announced their team, are waiting to name their riders for the race, several Australian and international teams have named their riders for the event.
The UCI Continental Team Synergy Baku Cycling Project will make their debut appearance at the Sun Tour with two Australians in 2012 National Road Series champion Luke Davison, who also won Stage 2 at last year's race, and Patrick Lane. Also on the two team are two German sprinters, Christopher Schweizer and Daniel Klemme, and two time trial specialists, Elchin Asadov and Tural Isgandarov.
Adding further international flair to the race will be the inclusion of both the New Zealand national team and the Great Britain national team. The oldest member on the young New Zealand team is just 23-years-old and as a winner of a Bay Cycling Classic stage in 2010, Tom Scully will be chasing another win on Australian soil. Joining Scully is Patrick Bevin, James Oram, Hamish Schreurs, Dion Smith and Hayden McCormick.
On the Great Britain team is former Team Sky rider Russell Downing who at 35-years-old, is the elder statesman of the team. Joining the veteran is 2013 Victoria State Criterium Champion Chris Latham, promising track rider Ollie Wood, Germain Burton, 2013 national junior scratch champion Jacob Ragan and 2013 national junior road race champion Chris Lawless.
Having just won the best young rider jersey at the Tour Down Under in his debut WorldTour race racing for UniSA, Jack Haig is back in his Avanti Racing team colours and will see the race pass through his home town of Bendigo. Joining Haig are his UniSA teammates from the Tour Down Under, Anthony Giacoppo, Neil van der Ploeg, Mark O’Brien and Campbell Flakemore. Rounding out the Avanti team is 2013 New Zealand national time trial champion Joe Cooper.
Having raced several season with BMC, Tim Roe is hoping to get back to his best after being struck down by injuries and enters the race in the yellow colours of Budget Forklifts. Roe is targeting the overall victory in the National Road Series this year in order to get back to WorldTour level. Roe will be joined by Michael Vink, Sam Horgan, Joshua Prete, Kristian Juel and Samuel Witmitz.
Avanti Racing Team: Jack Haig, Joseph Cooper, Anthony Giacoppo, Mark O'Brien, Campbell Flakemore and Neil Van Der Ploeg
Great Britain national team: Chris Latham, Ollie Wood, Germain Burton, Jacob Ragan, Christopher Lawless and Russell Downing
New Zealand national team: Patrick Bevin, James Oram, Tom Scully, Hamish Schreurs, Dion Smith and Hayden McCormick
Synergy Baku Cycling Project: Elchin Asadov, Tural Isgandarov, Luke Davison, Daniel Klemme, Patrick Lane and Christoph Schweizer
Team Budgetforklifts: Timothy Roe, Michael Vink, Samuel Horgan, Joshua Prete, Kristian Juel and Samuel Witmitz
Rapha Condor JLT: Hugh Carthy, Richard Handley, Michael Cuming, Christopher Opie, Felix English and Tom Moses