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A break in racing sees teams venture overseas
With a break in the Australian racing calendar, several NRS teams are heading off to Asia, Europe and North America before the Subaru NRS series resumes for both the men and women in the last week of July with the Tour of the Murray River.
These week's NRS news shorts wraps the latest from the Tour of Toowoomba and find out where you can next see Drapac, Avanti and BudgetForklifts in action plus the latest on Olympic triathlete training in NRS roads.
NRS leader Joe Cooper fractures pelvis at Toowoomba but vows August return
Subaru National Road Series leader Joseph Cooper (Avanti Racing Team) suffered a nasty spill on stage four resulting in a fractured pelvis while sitting in second overall in general classification at the Tour of Toowoomba over the weekend.
The 28-year-old, 2013 New Zealand Time Trial National Champion has been on a hot streak after winning the Oceania Time Trial title in February, with previous overall NRS wins this season at the Tour de Perth in March and the Battle on Border earlier this month. But that all came to a screeching halt when Cooper hit the asphalt on Saturday in what he said was the worst crash of his career.
In heroic fashion, Cooper remounted his Avanti road bike and limped in across the finish line a full 30km from the scene of the accident.
"I suffered two fractures in my pubic bone," Cooper told Cyclingnews. "The doctor was amazed that I managed to even remount and carry on for the remaining 30km – and now I am hardly able to put any weight at all through my legs."
"It's amazing what the body can do if you really want something that bad."
Speaking of wanting something badly, Cooper says that both he and the team are already working diligently to heal and prepare for an August return when the NRS resumes after a two-month hiatus at the Tour of Murray to maintain his points lead over teammate Jack Haig, and Tim Roe (BudgetForklifts) which now stands at 10 points each.
"I will definitely be back in August for the Tour of Murray, even if I am only 80 per cent," said Cooper. "It just goes to show you that even with a broken pelvis I'm not someone they can just get rid of."
Cooper has been using a hyperbaric chamber to speed his healing.
Avanti have just wrapped up racing at the Tour of Japan and will continue its Asian stint of racing at the Tour of Korea.
Former NRS champion captures first European win at Omloops der Kempen
At just 50km in on the twisted and cobbled 200km Omloops der Kempen, 2012 Subaru NRS winner, Luke Davison (Synergy Baku) found himself asking what he wanted from the day's race.
His answer came 150km later when he crossed the line first in a narrow sprint finish to capture his first career win on European soil wearing the Australian national team jersey.
"I didn't look back from that point on, making the winning break some 40min later," Davison told Cyclingnews. "I was fortunate to have teammate Harry Carpenter from about the 100k point until 40 to go, which took a bit of pressure off as Rabobank had three riders, along with a solo rider from Jo Piels"
Davison, a gold medallist member of the 2014 Track World Championship Australian men's pursuit squad, is on loan from his Synergy Baku squad to the Jayco-AIS national team and said the win is monumental.
"It's the biggest since I won a Herald Sun Tour stage in 2013 and a big step forward in a hopeful road career next year," said Davison, who he re-joins Baku this week for the Tour of Estonia before beginning preparations for the men's pursuit at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in July.
"I wouldn't be here without the support of the Australian team and Baku," he said. "This stint of racing with the national team has all be in preparation for the Commonwealth Games and my road ambitions. I'm hoping a few more results can show my ability and enable me to make inroads into my road career and be a part of the WorldTour."
BudgetForklifts Northern American adventure
BudgetForklifts are embracing the Australian break in racing to head off to the USA with an eight-man squad which will also a chance to see the Canadian headquarters of Cervélo, the teams' bike sponsor.
The Continental team is set to race the UCI1.1 Philadelphia Cycling Classic in Pennsylvania, USA, on June 1, before two Canadian stage races, the Tour de Saguenay and Tour de Beauce.
Team manager Cam Watt and the eight-riders ‘can't wait for the challenge'.
"It's going to be the biggest one-day race we've ever done," Watt said of the 'Philly Classic'. "Being a one-day race, you've got to have lots of options on the road."
While the team contains several young riders, Watt is confident that that Northern American stint will be beneficial for when the NRS resumes.
"We've got four guys going over there that are under 23," Watt pointed out. Lining up alongside 24-year-old Roe, 22-year-old Vink and 20-year-old Kerrison in Philadelphia will be 21-year-old Alex Wohler and 22-year-old Josh Prete, as well as veteran riders Tommy Nankervis, Brodie Talbot and Sam Witmitz.
"The experience that they can gain in that high-level competition will be invaluable not only for the rest of the year in the NRS when they come back to that, but also for the rest of their careers," Watt said.
For the Tour de Saguenay, the team will have seven riders and all will be looking to get Kerrison a stage win. "I think we can be extremely competitive. We'd like to come away with a stage win out of that tour," Watt said.
The Tour de Beauce however will be all about a three-pronged assault on the GC. "With Tim Roe, Michael Vink and Brodie Talbot, we've got three very good climbers, and coupled with a 20-k TT on TT bikes … [Tim Roe and Michael Vink] have got no weakness in those two disciplines. We think we can challenge for the win in GC at Beauce. "
Drapac's American debut
Another Australian team will be on the start line in Philadelphia on June 1 with Drapac making its American racing debut. The Pro-Continental team has raced in Australia, Asia and Europe already this year and are about to add another continent to that list.
The teams Directeur Sportif, Henk Vogels, was the first Australian to win the Philly Cycling Classic in 2000 and although there have been changes made to the parcours since, it remains a special race to Vogels.
"The year that I won it I believe there was a couple of hundred thousand spectators – which is pretty amazing for a bike race in any place," he said.
"It's not just your standard race, it really means something."
Olympic triathlete uses Battle on the Border as training grounds
Two-time Olympic triathlete Courtney Atkinson is no stranger to trying new things. The ITU Olympic-distance specialist dabbles in iron and half-iron distance triathlon, as well as adventure racing and Xterra. The Queensland native even gives mountain biking a go and is scheduled to compete in the RRR Mountain Bike Challenge in Port Douglas to start a week of festivities leading up to Ironman Cairns and his own participation in the Cairns 70.3 – a race he won last year.
Recently Atkinson joined the master's circuit on the third leg of the Battle on the Border race last week to sharpen the legs before Cairns.
"The Battle on the Border is in my backyard and the loops the circuit uses are literally my every day training grounds," the Gold Coast resident told Cyclingnews. "I was purely in there to just get fit and get some training under my belt that mimic some of the conditions that provide me to some of the exertions that I have not been exposed to since racing ITU."
Unlike the five-day men's series and four-day women's tour, Atkinson raced the three-day master's series that included a road race on day one, both the 10km time trial and criterium on the second day, and followed up with a second road race on the final day.
"There is a whole different mentality between cyclists and triathletes that's for sure," he said. "Those NRS riders were there to win bike races and I was there to train during a bike race. But without a doubt, the riders that make up the NRS – both men and women – are amazing."