Adapting to new surroundings
With the Subaru National Road Series (NRS) still on a mid-season hiatus, this week Cyclingnews brings you a short wrap of overseas racing, some transfer news, and we get to know one of the Bicycle Superstore riders.
Overseas racing wrap
Drapac's Will Clarke continued his winning ways in 2014 with victory on stage 2 of the UCI2.1 Tour of Iran and went on to claim the points jersey while in Belgium, Ed Bissaker won the Heist Op Den Berg with Bianchi DCM Arbitrage teammate Jayden Jopp in fourth place.
Despite being "chopped off" in the finish, Shannon Johnson managed second place in his first Canadian race with the NCCH team having been led out by his CharterMason Giant teammate Jacob Restall.
Before heading over to Tahiti for the six day Tour de Polynesie with his Paradice Investment Cycling Team, Mitch Carrington warmed up for the event with victory in the Gunnedah to Tamworth NSW state open race on Sunday. Carrington's aim at the race is to claim the green sprinters jersey.
Alex Morgan sign for BMC Development squad
19-year-old Alex Morgan may not be a household name quiet yet but the three-time world champion on the track is certainly impressing the right people having secured a deal with the BMC Development Team for the remainder of the 2014 season.
Morgan was part of the Australian team which won the team pursuit at the World Championships in Belarus last year and also has two junior gold medals from the same discipline to his name.
After his track triumph last year, Morgan returned to compete in the NRS with his best result being victory in the opening time trial of the National Capital Tour. The win also saw him pull on the first race leader's yellow jersey of the four-day event.
Having missed out on selection for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, which left him feeling "pretty distraught," Morgan explained to Cyclingnews how one door closed and another opened.
"I wanted to use the good form that I had planned for in June/July/August and my manager Scott McGrory contacted Rik Verbrugghe at the BMC Development team," he said. "Rik found a spot in the team for me and I moved to the team in Belgium last Tuesday.
"All the riders and staff are fantastic. The team is like a big family and I've been welcomed with open arms. I'm so happy and have been made very comfortable.
"It's simply amazing."
Morgan is down to start six races for the team and is targeting time trials and "maybe GC if things are going well at Cascade and Guadeloupe" and as long as he "learns French" then, he'll be "be all sweet."
Morgan's race program for the BMC Development Team
5/7: Omloop Nieuwsblad UCI 1.2 (Belgium)
15/7 - 20/7: Cascade Cycling Classic (USA, big focus, prologue & 25km TT)
1/8 - 10/8: Tour de Guadeloupe (Guadeloupe, 10 day race, 2 TT's)
26/8: GP Marbriers UCI 1.2 (France)
30/8: GP Templeuve UCI 1.2 (France)
31/8: GP La Magne UCI (Belgium)
Michael Crosbie signs for African Wildlife Safaris
African Wildlife Safaris (AWS) have announced a new signing for the remainder of the 2014 season with 21-year-old Michael Crosbie to join the team upon his arrival back in Australia from Europe in late-July. The team's sports director Joel Pearson explained how the signing came about to Cyclingnews.
"Michael has decided to change his focus towards the road after coming agonisingly close to being selected for the Commonwealth Games MTB Team," Pearson said. "Michael is a talented climber who has won the KOM Jersey at the past two editions of the U23 national road race."
Crosbie raced the first four rounds of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup this year although his signing for AWS is a sign of his focus on carving out a road racing career as Pearson explained.
"He has had several top results in various MTB World Cup events around the world but we are happy to hear that he is determined to set his sights at a career on the road.
"His professional manor will fit well in our structure and he will bolster our ambitions to become one of the top three teams in the nation by the end of the NRS season."
Subaru NRS women's leader takes third in Queensland triathlon
Queensland native Ruth Corset (Holden Women's Cycling Team) took third place at the Sue Bell Memorial Saunders Beach Triathlon in her hometown of Townsville last weekend.
As reported by Cyclingnews last week, the current NRS individual leader, has been mixing things up a bit during the mid-season break over the Australian winter.
Three weeks after taking first place at the 70-kilometre RRR (Rural, Rainforest and Reef) Mountain Bike Challenge at the Cairns Airport Adventure Festival in early June, the triathlete-turned-champion cyclist returned to her multi-sport roots and recorded a time of 1:55:20 over the near-Olympic distance event that included a 1km swim, 30km bike and 8km run.
"It was definitely tough, especially with not a lot of running and swimming," said the 2012 NRS winner and 2010 national champion. "My arms felt dead in the swim cause of not having done much swimming beforehand, so had to make up a lot of places on bike.
"I really enjoyed it!"
With 39 points, Corset holds a narrow two-point lead in the overall NRS standings over Lizzie Williams (Specialized-Securitor) and four points over Tessa Fabry (Jayco/Apollo/VIS) with the series scheduled to resume with the Tour of the Murray in August.
However, Corset is expected to miss both the Tour of the Murray and the King Valley Tour due to family commitments before resuming her NRS season at the National Capital Tour and Tour of Goldfields, which are the final two races of the women's series.
Australian women's crit champ learning the ropes and the language in Europe
For first-year pro Sarah Roy, racing in Europe for her French-based Poitou-Charentes Futuroscope-86 women's team is the easy part, it's the culture shock that the 2014 Australian women's national criterium champion is finding the biggest adjustment.
The Sydney native, who spent the Australian summer racing with Chloe Hosking (HItec Products) on Roxsolt Sydney Uni, is no stranger to trying new things. After all, the 27-year-old sprinter made a late switch to cycling after starting her sporting career in triathlon. But Roy, who holds a degree in sports science and is currently studying for her masters, admits learning a new language has been a difficult transition.
"I am in a permanent state of confusion," Roy told Cyclingnews a day after finishing fifth on a stage and helping teammate Amelie Rivat take fourth to maintain her leader's jersey and help the team keep the lead in the French Cup Series race.
"I have many stories of miss-communication and language difficulties," she said. "It was after the first week of being here that I stopped asking questions. Always wondering: 'Where are we going? What are you talking about? Why are you laughing? Who are these people giving me kisses on the cheek?'
"We had a two-hour team meeting with all 13 staff and 10 riders, and at the end the team owner asked me in French if I had any questions. I had pretty much dozed off and had no idea he was speaking to me, I didn't even recognize my name in French (Sah-huh), I am normally "Roy" even here that's said "Wah" so I am a permanent space cadet."
But there is no sleeping on the job for 'Wah' who is all business on the parcours of Europe.
"Despite the language barrier at times, my team has been fantastic," said Roy, who is being given French lessons in her temporary home away from home in Poitiers. "The beginning of season was full of new and exciting experiences racing such high-calibre classics which was pretty much a dream come true just to be a part."
For Roy, her primary role is to ride in support of the team's general classification riders in races such as Luxembourg and Tour of Flanders.
"I normally race in support of another rider on my team," said Roy. "I was happy with my ride at the World Cup in Flanders – an amazing race that I finished 37th among the peloton. It's all relative as a first year rider."
Roy says that while she in enjoying her first stint racing abroad, she does still miss bunch rides with her Parramatta Cycling Club on Saturday mornings and the "original" Carmen's Bars, among a few other things.
"I miss rolling into a cute comfortable café and reading the paper with a strong Aussie latte in hand," said Roy, who is also joined by fellow Australian Kimberley Wells on the team. "But for now, I have a small break before having the chance to wear my 'green and gold' a few more times. The riders know me now and know the jersey."
Get to Know Rebecca Heath
British born Rebecca Heath (Bicycle Superstore) claimed a breakthrough NRS win on the Battle on the Border's stage 4 ahead of Lizzie Williams (Specialized Securitor) in May but there is more to the 30-year-old than her sprinting prowess.
An emergency department doctor Heath is also completing a Diploma in Mountain Medicine but how did she manage to find balance between work, study and racing?
"Like everyone that has a job and races, I too struggle to train around my shifts and work hours," she told Cycling Australia. "Working full time and constantly flipping on and off of night shifts with up to 70 hours in the department a week, not including overtime or commuting doesn't leave as much time as I would like for riding my bike or recovery."
Blessed with a supportive friends, both on and off the bike, and a supportive coach a flexible work schedule has helped Heath live the dream since she started racing.
"I got into cycling through triathlon. Realising that the swim only got me to the bike and the run only got me from the bike to the finish I decided in 2012 it would be more fun to just do only the best bit and tried road racing."
And what are her short and long terms cycling goals?
"My short term goal would be to try and manage revising for my first set of Emergency Department exams, while moving to Alice Springs to work in the Emergency department there, and continue to try and train enough to race NRS," she said. "Long term my goal is to continue to love riding my bike."
Read the full interview here
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