The Jayco Australian National Team will start next week's Herald Sun Tour as one of the teams to watch thanks to a balanced squad that boasts some of the nation's best cycling talent.
Experienced campaigner and 2007 champion Matt Wilson will lead the team with rising star Richie Porte, who comes off a successful racing stint in Italy which saw him net a stage win at the 'Baby Giro', among other victories.
Supporting the pair will be Skil-Shimano rider Mitch Docker, fresh from his first full European racing season, Tasmanian journeyman Sean Sullivan, Pat Shaw, Tommy Nankervis and Nick Aitken.
Team manager Dave Sanders is confident in the potential of his outfit to shake up the Sun Tour standings, with Porte a prime card to play during the week. "Richie's just got a lot of all-round talent," said Sanders.
"People forget he came ninth in the Tour Down Under in 2008 and his style and this course next week will really suit him. There's no mountain top finish, but there's enough hills to really split the race and he'll be in the front every time," he added.
Wilson, who capped off a great return to form during the 2007 season with the Herald Sun Tour title, believes that Sanders' faith in the team is well-placed. "We should have a couple of cards to play," said Wilson.
Taking two leaders into the race is a strategy that the Victorian hopes will work for his crew for the week. He knows what it takes to prevail in Australia's second-largest event and explained, "The Jayco Herald Sun Tour is a gamble. You have to make the right breaks.
"We'll be hoping to win a stage early, before the time trial on Friday. There are a lot of better time trialists than me in the field."
The 2009 Jayco Herald Sun Tour will begin this Sunday, October 11 and finishes on Saturday, October 17, traveling through regional Victoria - Ballarat, Colac, Warrnambool, Apollo Bay, Anglesea, Barwon Heads and Geelong - before the twilight final stage circuit race within the Italian precinct of Lygon Street in Melbourne.
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