Jack Bobridge, the new rising star of Australian cycling, will be participating in the upcoming Jayco Herald Sun Tour as the leader of his AIS team before making the move to Garmin-Slipstream next year.
Taking place from October 11-17, the Sun Tour will see the new U23 time trial world champion lead a seven-man team in the race, all promising Australian youngsters. Bobridge will be joined by a trio of world junior champions: three-time world junior track champion Luke Durbridge, dual world junior track champion and three-time world cup winner Glenn O'Shea and world junior madison champion Alex Carver.
If that wasn't enough, 2008 Australian junior male cyclist of the year Michael Matthews, world championships team pursuit silver medallist Rohan Dennis and Tour of Thailand King of the Mountain jersey winner Adam Semple round out the AIS roster.
Bobridge and O'Shea are the oldest in the team at 20, with Carver just 17. "It's an exceptional talent pool and you can see they are already putting the runs on the board," said AIS national technical manager Kevin Tabotta.
"We won't discuss tactics until the day before the Tour, but it's fair to say if Jack starts a race, he'll give everyone on the team 100 percent - and he rarely fails."
None other than Lance Armstrong tipped Bobridge as a name to watch for the future. The legend of world cycling was taken by the youngster's performances at this year's Tour Down Under.
"You couldn't ask for much more than that for Lance to mention your name as an up-and-comer," Bobridge said. "It gives me extra motivation. I think I caught his eye a little bit and he's been following my progress. I met him at the Tour Down Under this year and we had a chance to train together."
But Armstrong was beaten to the punch when American team Garmin-Slipstream secured the South Australian's signature to a contract starting 2010.
"Jack is a phenomenal talent - possibly the most talented rider of his generation," Garmin-Slipstream team manager Jonathan Vaughters said.
This year, Bobridge won both the U23 time trial and U23 road race crowns at the Australian Championships and notched up another six wins on the road including stages in the Tour of Japan and the Thüringen Tour in Germany. He also claimed two silver medals (individual pursuit and team pursuit) at the Track World Championships in March.
Currently still at the World Championships in Mendrisio, Switzerland, the 20-year-old is preparing for Saturday's U23 road race where the Australian team have their eyes on another podium finish.
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