By Mark Gunter
FRF Couriers-Caravello are looking to show well in what is their biggest race yet, the 2.HC ranked Tour of Qinghai Lake.
This team is in its first year as a UCI Continental team are looking to make a name for themselves in professional cycling. This exotic and challenging race is a great opportunity to get noticed.
"A stage win or a day or two in the leaders jersey would be great" explained team manager Andrew Portess. Overall GC is not the main priority for this race especially when up against teams like Liquigas and Bouygues Telecom, but to be competitive against such strong opposition would be a boost for the riders and sponsors alike.
The team has been racing in the UK and Canada recently so their legs and mind set should be ready to tackle this event in a positive way. A stage win is not out of the question. With Cyclingnews diary submitter Cody Stevenson riding well and in form sprinter Joshua Marden recently having a win in the Milk Race in Ireland. a chance on the flatter stages is possible. Meanwhile 19 year old Brendan Brooks has been getting some high altitude training in Colorado.
And high altitude is the word for this race with the riders reaching 3880m during stage 4. Netherlands-based team Skil-Shimano have already been in the area for two weeks getting used to the thin air and one would expect them to perform well in the early stages of the tour. Andrew Portess isn't too worried about this as the tour is 9 days long and the big climbs don't come until half way through. By then, he feels, the guys should have acclimatised.
No team leader has been arranged yet. They will see how things pan out before making any decisions, as anything can happen in the mountains of China.
"This will be a great learning experience for the guys, and with the high altitude racing they should arrive back in Australia with some good form" says Andrew. "They should place well in the Tatts Cup coming up soon".
FRF couriers-Caravello are aiming to be the number one team in Australia, and along the way help riders adapt to a professional lifestyle and in the future gain contracts with a UCI professional team.
Team roster: Joseph McDonnell, Cody Stevenson, Peter McDonald, Peter Herzig, Brendan Brooks, Tony Mann, Joshua Marden
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Mark Gunter/www.pbase.com/gunterphotograph
- Peter McDonald gives the thumbs up at Beijing Airport
- Group photo as the team board the plane heading for Xining
- Air China food
- The teams were met at the airport for transfer to the hotel in Xining
- Tony Mann is welcomed to Xining
- Josh Marden happy to be in town
- The Xining Hotel
- Joe McDonnell before a training ride
- Peter McDonald in good spirits before a training ride
- Team Manager Andrew Portess checks out one of the bikes
- off on a ride
- The happy rollerskate repair man
- China, not as backwards as you might think
- Team Mechanic Liam Clarey on the job
- Liam and Andrew prepare for the teams training ride
- Looks like the altitude has got to Cody Stevenson
- Cody Stevenson leaving the hotel (no lift)
- off on a ride
- a leg and a nurse
- Equipment for the medical
- Brendan Brooks having his medical
- Brendan Brooks had to contend with two nurses
- Cody Stevenson lying very still
- Peter McDonald, and co. check out the results
- Tony Mann says peace out man
- Checking results