Grafton to Inverell to decide NRS overall winner
The 2014 National Road Series (NRS) series comes to an end this Saturday with the 54th edition of the Grafton to Inverell closing out the season. Defending champion Jack Anderson (Drapac) has had his season ended by illness and won’t be taking his place on the start line for the 228km event which will decide the overall winner of the series.
Current leader of the NRS, Joe Cooper has recovered from the hip injury that saw miss the middle part of the season and a return to form at the last three NRS events has seen him retake the leader’s white jersey. The Avanti rider isn't keen on relinquishing his lead on the final race day of 2014.
The only rider who can spoil the party for Cooper is Tim Roe (BudgetForklifts). Roe has been a consistent performer in his return to racing on the domestic scene with the former BMC rider constantly seen on the podium from February to October.
For Roe to unseat Cooper and win the series overall, the South Australian needs to win and see Cooper finish no better than fourth. Roe can also take the overall if he finishes on the podium and Cooper finishes outside the top six.
If Cooper manages to hold onto his overall lead, he will become the first New Zealander to win the NRS outright and if he wins the race, he will be the first Kiwi to do so since Greg Henderson in 2006.
Click here to see the past winners of the Grafton to Inverell
Jones signs on for Drapac
Brenton Jones has been one of the revelations of the 2014 NRS having started the year with a bang by winning the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic and the Victorian has been rewarded for his consistency by signing for Pro-Continental team Drapac. Jones is the second signing for Drapac who have also added Peter Koning to its roster for 2015.
Keith Flory, Drapac’s Director of Performance, welcomed Jones to team who he sees as a valuable addition for next year.
“Brenton has had a very successful year domestically and displayed a number of traits that we believe will ensure that he has a smooth step up to the professional continental level where we expect him to make an impact,” said Flory. “He is still young and has a lot more to offer than what we have seen from him so far.”
Along with his 'Bay Crits' win, Jones also tasted stage win success at the New Zealand Cycle Classic, Adelaide Tour, Tour of Singkarak, Tour of Murray River and Tour of the Great South Coast which was also his first GC win in the NRS.
The move to Drapac will see Jones taking the next step in his career as he explained.
“Aspiring to one day get to the Tour de France and all those major races, they’re the same goals and the vision that I have,” he said. “To join them is a good pathway.”
At Avanti, Jones was the teams protected sprinter and the move to Drapac will see the 22-year-old change of roles to supporting fellow fast man Wouter Wippert.
“I’ve started off at Avanti being a workhorse and a team player and that’s how I’ve developed into the rider that I have been this year as the sprinter and having the opportunities to win races,” Jones said. “At Drapac I’ll go in and make new friends in the team, be a team player and do what I can to make sure the team is on the top step.
“When I eventually get my own opportunities, I’ll do the best I can to get the job done,” Jones added. “Coming in, I’m not expecting anything to come my way. It’s about giving to the team and making sure we start the year off on a good note.”
Corset wraps up the women’s NRS overall
Overall victory at the final women’s NRS event of the season has seen Ruth Corset (Holden Women’s Cycling) secure the series overall for the second time in her career. Corset’s team made it a one-two at the Tour of the Goldfields with Corset taking the win, 1:03 ahead of Jenelle Crooks with Bicycle Superstore’s Crystal Wemyess in third place overall.
“This has been the best year riding with the Holden Cycling Team,” said Corset who was the overall winner of the series in 2012. “We’ve done well all year and we dominated this weekend.”
Corset ended the series with a tally of 97 points, with teammate Ellen Skerritt placing second overall, 49 points in arrears. Suzuki-Brumby’s Rebecca Wiasak was third overall on the standings with 37 points.
The Holden Women’s Cycling team also clinched the team prize thanks to Corset and Skerritt.
“I’ve really enjoyed racing with the Holden team,” said Corset. “The girls are great, we all get along really well and I’m looking forward to racing with them again next year.”
Corset will enjoy a short break before turning her attention to the Australian national road champions which take place in early January in Ballarat, Victoria.
“I’m feeling really strong and I’ve really enjoyed racing this year. When you enjoy racing, you seem to do well,” said the 2010 national road champion.