NRS Shorts: A round up of Australian domestic racing

Corset, Wippert, Rice and African Wildlife Safaris

With a break in the National Road Series, Cyclingnews'' weekly round up of domestic racing turns its attention away from racing to find out how Wouter Wippert is enjoying life at Drapac, gets to know a little bit more about an up-and-coming Canberra rider, finds about a new signing for African Wildlife Safaris and lets you know about Ruth Corset's off-road adventures.

Firstly, last week we let you know that several Australian teams were making the most of the NRS break to head overseas. At the Philadelphia Cycling Classic, Brodie Talbot was the best placed BudgetForklift rider in 25th place while Bernard Sulzberger was the fastest Drapac rider and Australian at the 1.1 event in 17th place.

This week Drapac and Avanti Racing continue their Asian racing schedule with the eight-stage UCI 2.2 Tour of Korea starting on June 8.


NRS women's leader wins Cairns RRR Mountain Bike Challenge
Current Subaru National Road Series women's leader Ruth Corset took first place in the 70km RRR (Rural, Rainforest and Reef) Mountain Bike Challenge to kick off the Cairns Airport Adventure Festival last weekend.

The Townsville native, the 2012 NRS overall winner, crossed the finish line at Four Mile Beach in Port Douglas in 3 hours, 29 minutes and 30 seconds, while fellow Townsville resident Jeff Rubach took the men's title in 2:53:13.

"This was my first time to race here and I didn't really know what to expect," Corset told Cyclingnews. "There was one section that featured a downhill bump track with a 20 per cent gradient, but luckily there were some open fire trails and make as much time as possible to give me the time to carefully navigate the technical sections."

In the 35km short course race, Dominic Hoyal won the men's division with a time of 1:17:56, while Natalie McNamee took the top spot for the women (1:48:24).

"Overall, I love the experience and it is just so different than racing on the road," said the former Commonwealth Games national team road cyclist. "There were a few times during the race I thought to myself that I would 'never do this again,' but I think I would most certainly come back and race the RRR one more time. It was a great experience and I am very happy with my achievement."

Get to know Suzuki-Brumby's Alison Rice
Canberra-based women's NRS team Suzuki-Brumby's are regularly seen animating the domestic scene with several promising riders on its rosters. One of those riders is 20-year-old Alison Rice — a former U19 Oceania Time Trial champion who represented Australia at the 2011 Junior Road Worlds — and also has a hidden talent for Sudoku puzzles.

Born in Canberra, Rice never leaves home without tire levers when heading out for a ride and lives by the Bob Dylan saying; "You'll never be greater than yourself." Canberra may not be everyone's number one tourist destination but Rice recommends hot air ballooning when visiting the nation's capital city.

And what are Rice's favourite NRS races? The Tour of Adelaide or the National Capital Tour in Canberra.

Wouter Wippert continues winning ways with Drapac
23-year-old Wouter Wippert added two more stage victories to his 2014 haul at the Tour de Kumano and Drapac's sprinter spoke to Cyclingnews about his first season with the Australian Pro-Continental team.

Cyclingnews: Of the seven wins this season, which has meant the most to you personally?
The first win at the 2.1 race in Taiwan was something special. It was a really difficult finish and the most of the people thought it was too hard for me so that made it a bit more special, to win.

CN:The last month has been very successful for both yourself and Drapac, what do you attribute that success to?
Everyone in the team is working hard from the start of the season and trying to do their best. So I think the hard work has paid off in the last few weeks...

CN: What has been the biggest transition in joining a predominately Australian team for 2014?
Normally in Europe you do two or more races a week and this year we only have a couple of one-day races. All the other races are stage races all over the world so there is a lot of travelling and at all the races a lot of new experiences.

CN: What is something about Wouter Wippert that perhaps cycling fans may not know? For example, any likes, dislikes, habits, hobbies, etc?

When I have some spare time, I like to listen music and to discover some new places on holidays...

CN: What are your remaining goals for 2014? And for 2015 and beyond?
Until now, I'm content with my results and hope to continue this in the upcoming races (Tour of Iran and Tour of Qinghai Lake). Secondly, I hope that we can get some good results in the end of the year in Tour of China 1 & 2 and Tour of Hainan.

African Wildlife Safaris May racing hampered by illness and injury
Continental life for Melbourne-based African Wildlife Safaris in 2014 has had its ups-and-downs so far this season. While the team had back luck with illness and injury at the two NRS events in May, at the state level they continue to impress.

The team is currently leading the Victorian Road Series ahead of fellow NRS teams Charter Mason, and Avanti Racing after victory Philip Island Spectacular in the team time trial.

Darcy Woolley also leads the individual classification with Shaun O'Callaghan sitting in third place after six events.

The team has also bolstered its roster with the signing of sprinter James Mowatt who was recently seen racing on French roads. African Wildlife Safari's director sportif Joel Person explained to Cyclingnews that the team are excited for his addition to the team.

"We had been in talks for some time in the lead up to him coming home after not been given a fair go by his French team and we are very happy to have his experience and strength in the team," Pearson said.

Despite being a rider down at the Tour of Toowoomba and missing its best climbers, Pearson was still buoyed by the team' results regarding the circumstances.

"We were lucky that firstly we had Jason Spencer overcome his sickness to snare a great result in seventh overall at Toowoomba and secondly, it was very satisfying we ran third in the Team Time Trial in the same event," Pearson said.

"This was a very big result in our eyes as we rode 95% of the race with five (instead of six) riders which proves that we are a very strong and well drilled team." 

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