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Cadel Evans & Victorian Premier Dennis Napthine at the launch of the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race
The resumption of racing, new signings and new races
With the mid-season National Road Series (NRS) break over for another year, it's time for a return of Cyclingnews' NRS shorts.
In a bumper edition, we bring you a wrap of last week's Tour of the Murray River results, new signings and the announcement of new races.
Tour of the Murray River wrap up
Brenton Jones headed over to Asia during the mid-season break with his Avanti team on a trip that paid dividends as he added a couple wins and podium places to his palmarès.
On his first NRS race back in Australia, Jones sprinted to victory at the Tour of the Murray River and in doing so, claimed the first leader's jersey of the race.
The Victorian's hold on the race lead wasn't going to be stopped by cross winds, breakaways, or even fire, and at the start of the final day criterium in Yarrawonga, Jones was in the box seat to claim the overall win.
Disaster struck when Jones suffered a mechanical in the final 300m of the race which ended any ambitions he had of contesting the final sprint. Jesse Kerrison (BudgetForklifts) won the final stage with a well timed gallop over the line which also saw the 20-year-old pleasantly surprise himself with his first overall victory in the NRS.
Slipping to third place overall as a result of his misfortune, Jones and Avanti will be out for revenge this week as the NRS resumes with the Tour of the Great South Coast.
Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race announced
Cadel Evans (BMC) made a rare trip back home to Australia during July for a special announcement of a new race to be held in 2015 which has been granted UCI accreditation for both a men and women's event.
Inspired by the European spring classics such as Paris-Roubaix, Milan-San Remo and Liege–Bastogne–Liege, the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race as it is being titled, will consist of an elite men's road race on Sunday, February 1, and preceded by an elite women's road race and mass participation ride on Saturday.
"It's fantastic news that Australia will have its first world class one-day race, honouring one of the sport's biggest legends," said Cycling Australia president, Gerry Ryan. "Cycling has seen an incredible growth on all levels and it's great to see that this also means more events for the public and all the fans to get excited about. Adding another event to the summer of cycling is a real win for everyone involved in the sport".
Read more about the announcement here
Details of Amy's Otway Classic announced
The fourth edition of Amy's Gran Fondo will be a special affair this year with Cycling Australia launching the women's NRS event, Amy's Otway Classic, with the two events to be held along the fully closed roads of the Great Ocean Road on September 14.
Amy's Gran Fondo is held in memory of Australian cycling team member Amy Gillett, who tragically lost her life while training in Germany in 2005 when hit by a car.
"Amy's Gran Fondo has all the ingredients in the AGF's DNA," Amy Gillett Foundation CEO and UCI vice-president Tracey Gaudry said.
"Safety first, a distance for everyone, a chance to challenge yourself and qualify for the Amateur World Championships, AustCycle bike skill courses and educational programs for school kids across the region, and now in memory of Amy in Amy's Otway Classic for Australian women races."
Drapac announces Brendan Canty as a stagiaire
Brendan Canty's NRS form has seen him join Drapac as a stagiaire for the remainder of 2014. The 22-year-old Victorian made his racing debut with the Pro-Continental team at the Tour of Utah where he finished in 50th place overall and 10th on the young rider classification.
"I am certain the next couple of months will provide an absolutely amazing experience," Canty said of the news. "Besides the racing experience from Utah I hope to develop as much as I can while training and travelling with such a professional team. At the end of the day I've been given this opportunity to prove myself not only as a rider but also an individual and I am really hoping I'll be able to achieve these objectives during my time as a stagiaire with Drapac.
"Above all, I'm looking forward to doing the best I can for the team."
Tom Palmer swaps his bike for books
While Drapac welcomed Canty to the team, the team said farewell to Tom Palmer who has decided to focus on his tertiary education and non-sporting career having recently experienced a number of health and injury setbacks.
"Tom is our longest serving member of the team having started with us in 2007 and it is a great shame he has decided to resign," said Drapac's general manager, Jonathan Breekveldt. "However with ensuring our riders are adequately prepared for their life after cycling, it is encouraging to see he has chosen to complete and further his studies and begin his transition so we fully support his decision.
"Tom will continue to work with the team as an ambassador with one of our community programs and will always remain a part of the Drapac Professional Cycling family."
"Drapac is where I grew up," Palmer said. "I'm so grateful for the unique opportunity I had to learn and achieve in an incredible environment and with great people. Over the last few months I have realised that the time has come to step back from the professional level, and get back to basics in order to continue my growth as a person, and indeed an athlete."
Drapac expressed its gratitude and thanks to Tom Palmer for his contribution to the team and wishes him all the best for the future.
Pat Lane signs for African Wildlife Safaris
African Wildlife Safaris have added another rider to its 2014 roster with 22-year-old Pat Lane joining the Continental team. Lane parts company with the Synergy Baku Cycling Project team which he joined in July last year.
Lane made his debut with African Wildlife Safaris at the Tour of the Murray River and will race the Tour of the Great South Coast this week with his new team.
SUVelo women's team set to contest 2015 NRS season
Established in 2013, the Sydney Uni Velo Women's Racing Team made its NRS debut at the Tour of the Murray River this month having been granted a wildcard entry to the race. The team recently defended its NSW team time trial title before heading to Victoria to contest the Murray River as it continues its preparation for a full NRS season next year.
The team has also been guaranteed a start at the Sam Miranda King Valley race from 22-24 August which currently, is the only other NRS event they will compete in this season.
"We will use the balance of the season to prepare the team for racing a full NRS season in 2015," club president Craig Gibbons said of the team's ambitions. "We look forward to having a 6-8 rider roster and ensure we continue to build the profile of women's cycling in NSW."