Stage four podium (l-r): Mitchell Pearson (2nd,Shortis Cycle & Tri-Avanti Plus), Joel Pearson (1st,Savings and Loans), and Zak Dempster (3rd, Drapac Porsche).
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Australian youngster focused on Normandie, Britannia
Australia’s Zak Dempster will join British Continental squad Rapha Condor for the 2010 season. Dempster endured a difficult season this year following the collapse of the European squad he’d signed for, so is looking forward to a fresh start with John Herety’s team.
“Basically they’re building on what they did this year,” Dempster told Cyclingnews. “There’s a real interest in England, as there is in Australia, for cycling. It’s a bit of a boom sport which has allowed them to get a lot more funding so next season is looking like a really good program with a lot of UCI races in France. It’s really a perfect program for me, when I looked at the program they put forth the results are really attainable, I believe.”
The 22-year-old had signed with Bulgarian-based Cycling Club Bourgas for 2009, but by the time he’d recovered from an early-season illness the team had run into financial difficulties and folded. He was thrown a lifeline by Drapac-Porsche for the closing months of the season.
Chalking this year’s events up to experience, Dempster is already focusing on his goals for next season. “Things like the Tour of Normandie, Tour of Britannia are really great races for me,” he said. “Also at the end of the year with [the Tours of] Ireland and Britain, they’re two races I’ve done well in before.
“It’s perfect for me as it provides me with a platform to go to that next level,” added Dempster. “They are races that, like I said, I really believe I can attain results in so it’s very exciting.”
Dempster expects to start his preparations for the European season at home in Australia with the Jayco Bay Classic series and the Australian Open Road Championships in Ballarat, Victoria. While he’s previously focused on the time trial at the AORC, Dempster and coach Tim Decker are yet to decide whether they will continue to focus on the race against the clock or increase Dempster’s emphasis on the road race as preparation for his European goals.
“I’ll head over probably just after the Australian nationals,” he said. “I’ll go straight to a training camp in Spain and I think my first race will be Les 3 Jours de Vaucluse then it’s a really heavy block from around the time of the [Tour of] Normandy right through to Brittany. Besides nationals that will be my first goal of the season, to really hit March and April hard then back it off before coming back into form for July, August and September which will be another really great period with the races we’re aiming to get into.”
Rapha Condor is expected to announce its full roster for 2010 over the coming weeks.
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