Top Oceania qualifiers weigh up racing options
Australian UCI Continental outfit Huon Salmon–Genesys Wealth Advisers have a week to decide if they will take up their invitation to compete in the Team Time Trial event at the UCI Road World Championships next month.
The team earned its spot as the Oceania Continental Champions ahead of Australia's other UCI Continental teams, Budget Forklifts and Drapac Cycling. The Tasmanian based outfit finished a whopping 128 points ahead of Budget, with Drapac a further two points adrift. With the team's eligibility known for some time now, the possibility of racing the worlds had already been on the radar, with team management keen to showcase Australian talent on one of the biggest stages in the sport.
According to team manager Andrew Christie-Johnston, any decision essentially rests with sponsors with costs of the trip running to around $25,000 for the six riders plus staff to participate.
"At this stage I'd suggest that we probably won't be taking it up for several reasons. One it conflicts with a couple of our existing races in Tour of Canberra [National Capital Tour] and also our preparation for [Tour of Tasmania] Tassie," he told Cyclingnews.
"Why that might seem funny, obviously worlds is a big events and these are only national series events, it's more out of respect for the sponsors who are Australian brands and they get their commission from the races we do in Australia.
"That said, we are talking to them about the possibility of doing worlds but it's too early to say."
Huon-Genesys has some very capable athletes on its roster, with Jack Haig, Ben Dyball, Joe Cooper, Aaron Donnelly, and Campbell Flakemore all likely automatic starters.
"Off the figures that we've done off TTT's before, we would definitely be competitive against some of the WorldTour teams but we certainly would not be against the world's best team," said Christie-Johnston.
Huon-Genesys have one win in the discipline so far this season, blitzing the field at the Tour of Toowoomba, winning by over a minute from Drapac. Cooper is current the New Zealand National Time Trial Champion and won the ITT at the New Zealand Cycle Classic, Tour de Perth and Battle on the Border. Flakemore, while on national duty won the ITT at the Royal Smilde Olympia's Tour and also the Internationale Thüringen-Rundfahrt U23.
The team has indicated that it will aim to go Professional Continental for the 2015 season and so if the rankings determine their eligibility this time next year, the team would have more reasons to justify the trip.
"To be honest with the squad that I'm getting ready for next year I'd suggest we'd be in a position to allow our time trialists to go and do that and still perform well in the National Road Series," explained Christie-Johnston. "With rumours that the Tour of Tasmania will be UCI next year that would also be a factor… It may not be much of a factor with the Tour of Tasmania is so hilly and traditionally hill climbers aren't the best TT'ers."