Wes Sulzberger signs for Navitas-Satalyst

Tasmanian aiming for overall NRS success with Continental team

Between 2009 and 2013, Tasmanian Wes Sulzberger was racing at the highest level of the sport but stepped down to the Pro-Continental level with Drapac to race this year alongside his brother Bernie.

An "ok" season didn't yield the results and performances that Sulzberger wanted and a contract wasn't forthcoming from the Australian team, leaving the 28-year-old without a contract for 2015.

Sulzberger's agent Wayne Evans was able to secure him a ride on his Navitas-Satalyst team which will be racing under a Continental license in 2015.

"We were looking at all the options out there," Sulzberger told Cyclingnews. " and when I told Wayne I was happy to race just within Australia he mentioned riding for Navitas-Satalyst. It's going to be a totally different approach for me being in a NRS team but I know I'll enjoy helping some of the younger guys.

Looking back at his year with Drapac, Sulzberger admitted it wasn't his best season but not from any lack of trying or effort.

"It was ok," he said of his overall season. "I didn't really have the results that I would have liked. The Tour of Turkey, I really wanted to do something thing there after I had a good start at nationals and Tour Down Under. That was a little bit disappointing but overall I gave it my best over the season and I came away feeling pretty good about the year."

Sulzberger's race calendar was one of the shortest in his career compared to past seasons which was due to various factors as he explained.

"I was a little bit sick after I went to Philadelphia to race as I got a stomach bug and then had to miss the Tour of Korea. To be honest, there wasn't a lot of race days on the calendar for the program I chose. The team wanted me to do American races so there were big gaps in my program which probably didn't work that well for me either.

While he didn’t have the results he wanted, riding for Drapac gave Sulzberger the opportunity to race alongside his brother Bernie as teammates for the first time in their career, an experience to savour as he explained.

"That was really cool. I'd raced on Bay Crits teams and things like that but never actually on the same team so that was special.

2015 ambitions
Despite racing just three NRS events in 2014, Sulzberger finished the season ranked eleventh overall having picked up stage wins at the Adelaide Tour and Tour of Tasmania and believes the overall title is within his reach next season.

"From my understanding, it seems the NRS has really progressed a lot and there is really great depth as well,' Sulzberger said of his impressions of the NRS. "It's going in the right direction, it has a long way to go in regards to gaining sponsorship and sustainability, but I think it's really starting to get some momentum."

Before the NRS starts in March, Sulzberger is looking to post good results at the nationals and the Jayco Herald Sun Tour and consequently won't be adjusting his regular preseason training regime.

"I'll still do what I do every year, training on the hard roads of Tassie with my brother and guys like Richie [Porte] and [Matt] Gossy. So I'll still be getting in the long base kilometres and trying to have a good crack at nationals.

"Herald Sun Tour will be really important for the team so that's when I really want to make sure I am in top peaking form for that.

With Navitas-Satalyst aiming for invites to several 2.1 races in Asia courtesy of its newly acquired Continental license, Sulzberger is looking for success abroad as well as at home.

"This year I did Tour of Taiwan and I was tenth overall so I think the team is looking at doing Tour of Philippines and Tour of Thailand which we were meant to do this year with Drapac but we didn't end up racing. I'd like to target one of the races that we do in Asia and go there to try to win it."

The move to a NRS team may be seen as a backward step for Sulzberger, a former silver medallist from the U23 world championships, but the Tasmanian is content with his decision.

"At this stage I am happy to see how it plays out. I am not unhappy at all that I'm racing in Australia in the NRS. Things have changed for me personally, my wife is due to have our first baby soon and after having lived in Europe for the past eight years, its really nice to be back home around family and friends at this exciting time in our life."

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