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NRS Shorts: A round up of Australian domestic racing

By:
Zeb Woodpower
Published:
August 28, 2014, 3:30 BST,
Updated:
August 28, 2014, 4:10 BST
Brenton Jones (Avanti) in the NRS leader's jersey

Brenton Jones (Avanti) in the NRS leader's jersey

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Dominant Wiasak, a world champion to race in the NRS, race announcements and new signings

Wiasak on fire at Sam Miranda King Valley
Rebecca Wiasak (Suzuki Brumby's) claimed her first NRS overall tour in several years when she won the Sam Miranda Tour of the King Valley over the weekend. Wiasak won the first three stages of the race to seal a 1:30 minute win over Ashlee Ankudinoff (Specialized Securitor).

"I'm thrilled to pull off the win for my team Suzuki Brumby's and for myself as it's been a couple of years since I've won the overall Tour," said Wiasak who took out the 2011 Tour of Geelong.

The track world cup gold medallist set up the victory ahead of Ankudinoff and Subaru NRS leader Ruth Corset (Holden Women's Cycling) with a dominant performance in the opening time trial.

The result propels Wiasak to fourth place in the national rankings.

Flakemore wins Tour de l'Avenir prologue
Campbell Flakemore claimed the biggest win of his career on the opening day of the Tour de l'Avenir as he beat Davide Martinelli (Ita) by one second in the prologue. While he may be racing with the Jayco WTA team in Europe for the majority of the season, Flakemore is contracted to Avanti and is joined at the race by teammate Jack Haig who won the Tour of Toowoomba in May.

Caleb Ewan added a second win to the team's tally when he sprinted to victory on stage 2.

Redemption for Brenton Jones
Having lost the Tour of the Murray River in the final 300m of the final stage, Brenton Jones bounced back at the Tour of the Great South Coast to claim his first overall victory in the NRS. The Victorian sprinter moved into the overall lead of the NRS with his win which saw teammate Joe Cooper drop to second on the standings.

Jones put a few words to paper after his win and let slip one of his secrets of success.

"Because I love competition, to keep me focused whilst on tour and off the bike, I've recently played the iPhone game, Temple Run," Jones wrote. "My challenge every morning is to beat my highest score and on day two I set a PB. Not only did it set the tone for the day, it gave me confidence and belief ahead of stage three."

Having seen his overall hopes disappear after his mechanical at the previous race, Jones explained his joy at knowing this race wasn't going to slip from his fingers.

"I was that excited at the finish that I came out of the last corner in about 20th wheel with 500m to go, then thought 'why not sprint?', so I did and managed to place on yet another podium in third," he said of the final stage.

"I can't thank the guys enough, the sacrifice, teamwork and support they gave me is something I won't ever forget, they'll be repaid."

Jones becomes the third Avanti rider to claim an overall NRS win in 2014 and expressed his gratitude to the team for their support which has contributed to a breakout season.

"On top of the Tour success, to now be leading the Individual National Rankings has made the hard work over the years seem very rewarding," he said. "I'm grateful for the opportunities that ACJ and the team have given me, it's been a long road but proves that hard work on and off the bike and a lot of teamwork can achieve some great results."

Anna-Leeza Hull jets off to Europe
Anna-Leeza Hull has been one of the revelations of the 2014 NRS, in both the men's and women's series, and has been rewarded for her good results with a post on the Australian junior world championships team. The 17-year-old recently  sealed selection with victory in the U19 Australian time trial champions and a third place in the road race.

Cyclingnews caught up with Hull as she was packing her bags for Belgium to ask her about the nationals.

"I can't believe how far I've come this year," she said. "I really did want to get selected for the world championships but with my results this year, I am hoping that I can get a medal or bring home a medal from the worlds.

Hull's results at the Tour of the Mersey Valley meant she quickly became a rider to watch in the NRS and the racing experience she gained has helped her when competing against her contemporaries.

At the junior national championships, held in Canberra, Hull blitzed the time trial with a 44 second win over Macey Stewart on the 15km course.

"I felt good on the bike that day and I knew the course from the day before when I went over the course a few times on the time trial bike and a few times on the road bike then drove it as well so I was really confident," Hull said of her win.

"I worked so hard that day and I was proud of how I raced [road race] and the result just topped it off.

At the world championships, Hull explained that has placed high expectations on herself for a good result in both the road race and time trial.

"Targeting both and obviously just perform my best," she said of her aims. "I haven't raced at such a high level yet so I am not quite sure what to expect so in the few weeks or racing before the worlds I'll figure out my strengths and weaknesses what I can improve but I really do hope that I set a good time in the time trial and let people know that I am in good form."

When asked which title would be more satisfying, the road or time trial, Hull responded: "I think the more satisfying win would be the time trial more because it's an individual event and it's something where you have to push yourself where the road race is more tactical and a lot can happen and there are some many things to take into consideration for what the end results will be."

Paul van der Ploeg switches to the road with CharterMason
The UC's recent announcement of the end of the eliminator sub-discipline of mountain biking at World Cups after 2014 has seen the world champion Paul van der Ploeg switch his allegiance to the road with CharterMason Giant.

"It's a real shame the eliminator is going away," said eliminator world champion Paul van der Ploeg to Cyclingnews last week. "It's like four cross - it's all quite political. Obviously, I enjoy the eliminator and anyone I know likes watching it. It's an exciting compliment event to the World Cup series, but when it's not a World Cup event itself, it's going to be a lot smaller than it already is and it could kill the sport.

"Although I did have a few offers from road teams going into this season, I focused on the mountain bike because I had the rainbow stripes. I didn't race the road at all this year."

Van der Ploeg will join his brother Neil, who rides for Avanti, in racing the NRS but is undecided what his calendar will consist of as-of-yet

"I will have to change my focus - whether that's cross country mountain bike racing or maybe transitioning to the road as a sprinter. I may finish off the year in Asia with a few road races to get my foot back in the door on the road. Otherwise, I might be struggling to get a job next year."

2014 Grafton to Inverell launched
The final NRS event of the season, the Grafton to Inverell, has been launched with a change to the finishing line. The 54th edition of the race will cover 228km on Saturday October 25.

The change to the finish line, just the third since the race begun in 1961, has been forced by plans to upgrade the Inverell CBD where the race finishes.

The new finishing straight will be in Vivian Street.

Data 3# pick up Jimmy Szollosi for the remainder of 2014
Data #3 have announced that 24-year-old Jimmy Szollosi will join the team for the remainder of the 2014 season. Szollosi was riding with the Bianchi DCM Arbitrage team which is no longer competing in the NRS.

Szollosi spent several months racing in Belgium with Bianchi DCM Arbitrage team during the mid-season break but has come back to Australia.

"We were informed about half-way through our Belgium trip that our manager and team owner had had a falling out over things and that the team will have no budget for the remainder of the year," he said. "Having felt this coming, there was already a lot of confusion about exactly what was going to happen and we'd heard that the team had unofficially folded."

Looking forward to racing with his new team, Szollosi explained his goals for the remainder of 2014.

"The remainder of the year I hope to do most of the remaining NRS events and perhaps a few other big races that are still in the making with the team. Tassie, Gippsland and Grafton to Inverell, would be big goals for me for sure.

"I would love to grab a top 10 on GC at the tours and a podium is within my sights from there. I think G2I is a race that suits me and I believe a top-five is possible there. With some hard European racing in the legs, and feeling stronger and smarter than ever, I believe these are achievable goals."

Pro Scody Downunder announce James Cummings signing
Pro Scody Downunder have completed the signing of 20-year-old James Cummings who was recently part of the Essendon SKODA Cycling Team until it folded due to financial pressures.

"I am very excited at the opportunity given to me by the team, and I am looking forward to representing Team Scody Down Under for the remainder of the 2014 season," Cummings said.

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