Russell Van Hout is no stranger to the Subaru Australian National Road Series, but it has been a while. The 2002 Series winner will be back in the saddle for Team Lightsview this week at the Jarvis Subaru Adelaide Tour, the fourth round of the NRS.
"I was actually talking to Willo [GPM Data#3 manager Trent Wilson] about it and he said ‘Yeah it's changed a bit, mate,'" Van Hout recalled for Cyclingnews, the pair good friends and former teammates at Colombia - Selle Italia closing in on a decade ago. In fact, they were riding the Giro d'Italia together. Much has changed, with Van Hout admitting he's been watching "a little bit" of the corsa rosa with it broadcast live back to Australia in the middle of the night.
"It does look fairly professional now with all the teams and the team cars and everything," he continued. "I don't think I'm going to be in any sort of form to win the event but I really want to represent Lightsview and [team manager] Michele Primaro and try and help a couple of the guys on the team.
Van Hout, Australian Road Champion in 2006, the year that Will Walker was first across the line as an under 23, gave full-time racing away some time ago to concentrate on his own plumbing business. However he has been keeping his eye in locally in Adelaide riding in the annual elite criteriums with Lightsview, and doing enough to finish fourth in the state time trial championships earlier this month in the build up to the Adelaide Tour.
The 36-year-old former Tour Down Under stage winner will hopefully play a guidance role for the comparatively inexperienced Lightsview squad in the opening stage team time trial.
"I think it will be critical for a lot of the bigger teams," he said of the 20.9km first stage. "It's only 20-odd k's but it's a bit technical and there's some ups and downs which could set it up for the winner of the Tour."
Team Lightsview gained wildcard entry to the Adelaide Tour and will no doubt be keen to animate the race with an eye to gaining more opportunities in the NRS in the seasons to come.