Australia and New Zealand's top continental teams, PureBlack Racing, Budget Forklifts, and Drapac have announced their line-ups for the upcoming Jayco Herald Sun Tour, with all three sending full-strength squads to the 2.1 rated race.
PureBlack Racing Team Director Carl Williams explained that performing well at the Jayco Herald Sun Tour was a big objective for the team.
"It’s a real privilege to be representing New Zealand and our sponsors at the highest level in a top Australian event," said Williams. "We had a really successful year in the US in our inaugural season and we’re looking to continue our aggressive style of racing in Melbourne next week."
The New Zealand team are bringing along stalwarts Glen Chadwick and Tim Gudsell, who are both carrying strong form. Gudsell, recently off a domination of the NZ national circuit added that he was itching to race with the team for its debut at the race.
"We’re really excited to be doing this race as it’s the highest profile race close to home this year and it’s the first time the PureBlack Racing Pro team has raced in Australia," Gudsell said.
One of the big surprises was the return to the Australian domestic road scene of Chris Jongewaard. The multiple-time mountain bike national champion will be riding for the Budget Forklifts team and adds depth, and experience to the WA outfit. Jongewaard, who raced with the Jayco-2XU team earlier in the year to concentrate on his build up for the London Olympic Games, has returned to home for a chance to do well at one of his favourite hunting grounds.
Jongewaard will be joined by sprinter Luke Davison, and all-rounders Michael Cupitt and Peter Herzig. Herzig could be a dark-horse for race success, with the 33-year-old earlier this week telling Cyclingnews that he was in some of the best form of his life.
Keeping with the mountain bikers, Drapac will be led by talented youngster Lachlan Norris, who returns from a stint in the US with HTC-Highroad. Norris will be supported by Adam Phelan and Darren Lapthorne, who also give the team options if Norris misses a move. Norris like many others pinpointed the Arthurs Seat stage as a crucial one, but said anything could happen over the previous three 'undulating' days.
"I guess I’m not your typical climber but I probably lend myself to climbing a bit more but I’m always keen for a breakaway," Norris said. "The Arthur’s Seat stage could suit me, so hopefully I can have a crack at that and see what happens.
"I’ll be having a go at GC, but if it’s windy it will be important not to lose time. I think between us, the team has got quite a few strong guys like Darren Lapthorne and Adam Phelan who can all be riding for GC, so we’ve got a few cards we can play."
Full line-ups for Jayco Herald Sun Tour;
Pure Black Racing:
Glen Chadwick (NZl), Tim Gudsell (NZl), Michael Northey (NZl), Shem Rodger (NZl), Roman Van Uden (NZl), James Williamson (NZl)
Darren Lapthorne (Aus), Lachlan Norris (Aus), Thomas Palmer (Aus) Adam Phelan (Aus), Rhys Pollock (Aus), Stuart Shaw (Aus)
Michael Cupitt (Aus), Luke Davison (Aus), Peter Herzig, (Aus), Chris Jongewaard (Aus), Brian Mcleod (Aus), Jason Spencer (Aus)