Race three of the National Road Series, the Tour of Toowoomba was a bit of an exercise in frustration for Australia’s newest professional team Jayco-2XU, but it’s hoped that this week’s Tour of Gippsland will result in the slick outfit’s second stage win of their debut season - at the very least.
Sports director Patrick Jonker told Cyclingnews that he was hoping that a gruelling training camp in Adelaide would have the team at the top of their game for Wednesday’s opening stage in Wonthaggi.
"I try and do about 75 per cent of what the pro’s would do and that’s already a lot - just to try and get them accustomed to what it’s like," the two-time Olympian explained. "It’s not an easy life; it’s a hard life and I guess that after a while they wish they’d chosen a different sport. If they can handle it and get results then they’ll be ready to make that next step and if they can’t then maybe they need to develop a little bit more. It’s been a pretty hard and intense camp but so is the sport."
Jayco-2XU got their first runs on the board on the third stage of the Mersey Valley Tour mid-April with Rhys Gillett and Brendan Brooks claiming second and third respectively. Later that month in Canberra, Chris Jongewaard took second in the Tour opener with Glenn O’Shea crossing the finish line second on Stage 2 before going one better on the final stage. In June, the Tour of Toowoomba got off to a promising start with Mark Jamieson and Luke Davison placing second and third respectively on Stage 1 before Gillett was pipped before the tape on Stage 2. The following day in Oakey could very well have been the team’s day if not for a van parked on the final corner heading into the finishing straight which resulted in many of the leading rider’s hopes being scuttled.
"While that’s good being the first year of the team it’s that time of the year now and we really need to get a few stage wins on the board and try and challenge Genesys - I think they’re the favourites," admitted Jonker.
"As a first year team you should be happy with any result but sometimes when you have four second places you start to wonder if there’s an obstacle for us mentally more than anything else. We’ve had one with Glenn but I think once we get one or two more it will open up the confidence of the team and we’ll be able to challenge more consistently for the stage win."
The team heads to Gippsland with a strong team made up of Nicolas Dougall,, Chris Jongewaard, Ryan Obst, Rhys Gillett, Luke Davison, James Hepburn, Mark Jamieson and Brendan Brooks - who’s just returned from a two-month stint of racing in Belgium and France - "Hopefully he’s brought some good form back with him," said Jonker.