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2014 NRS team feature: Subaru-Albion

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The 2014 Subaru Albion team

The 2014 Subaru Albion team (Image credit: Subaru Albion)
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Subaru Albion over at the New Zealand Cycle Classic

Subaru Albion over at the New Zealand Cycle Classic (Image credit: Subaru Albion)
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On the startline at the Oceania Championships in Toowoomba

On the startline at the Oceania Championships in Toowoomba (Image credit: Subaru Albion)
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Signing on at the Adelaide Tour

Signing on at the Adelaide Tour (Image credit: Subaru Albion)

Frank Conceicao first opened his Albion Cycles shop in Sydney's Eastern Suburbs back in 1979 and that shop is now one of two-naming sponsors of the Subaru-Albion NRS Development team. The team's bread and butter is the National Road Series (NRS) although for the second year running they are sending five riders to Ireland for the 62nd edition of the Rás. 

Conceicao is well known in Australian cycling circles having been a competitor, mechanic, coach and manager of cyclists, triathletes and teams across the world including stints as team mechanic for the Australian Cycling Team at the 1990 Commonwealth Games and 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games and now leads the team which is in its second season having made its 2014 NRS debut at Adelaide Tour.

Cyclingnews sat down with Conceicao at his shop to talk about his Subaru Albion NRS team, how he sees the season playing out for the team and what the future of the NRS is.

Cyclingnews: What is your racing calendar?
We are doing the Battle of the Border and pretty much all the races as we now have enough riders to do that. We signed up Tirian McManus, the junior world champion and we've gone up another level from last year.

We leave for Ireland in April for the Rás as we have a special invitation to the race. We went there last year and our best rider was 60th

CN: What is different about the team this year, compared to last?
We have enough sponsorship now to go to the next level, then we’re going to come back to do most of the NRS races which are in Victoria and then the Grafton–Inverell and Tour of Tasmania is our last race.

To race the 2.2 races would be nice to do so, we also have to have the category of riders to do that and as we’re building at the moment, I think we are a year away or so and also financially, it’s costing us around $5,000 to go to each race.

We have great sponsors obviously with Trek and Subaru, who is our major sponsor, and we have cash sponsors. But we are on about a $300,000 budget were some of the teams are on a million dollar budget so as you can understand, it's a little bit more difficult.

I think the way that Australian cycling is going, it’s going to be pretty much Continental teams in the future.

CN: What is different about the team this year, compared to last?
Last year we had a few older guys in the team because we we're trying to build some very young guys. This year we've pretty much signed up a new team of guys from the ages of 16-to-35-years-of-age.

CN: How do you decide on your team rosters? 
The roster will be pretty much us racing our top guys and the younger guys will go into the shorter races and we'll try to get them in state races more to get experience and depending on sickness, we'll then drop them into a major race.

CN: What is your personal involvement in coaching the riders?
I only coach one rider at this present stage because I find that a lot of guys we have now - some live in Brisbane, some live in country NSW and others find they like their own coach who they've been with a long time.

You have to remember we are a development team more than we are a Continental team. I get these riders to come along and I will tell them the program. Then I would say 'I want you to do your strength work in the gym early and then continue your mileage and your speed work.'

I lot of the guys are working with power meters which his good for us but we pretty much go back to the old days of training. We're working with power but it's pretty much the hard worker that is the better worker. That's the guy who does the full eight hour or ten hour training.

CN: Do you expect there to be any stand-out teams or riders this season?
We've got such strong competitors in this country, Drapac, Avanti, BudgetForklifts who are a great team, African Wildlife Safaris, Paradise investments....

CN: What are the expectations of the team for the 2014 season?
We have a lot to live up to and for us to finish in the top five or six teams is our goal. And also to be competitive and to come out of this with something.

We have three directors and staff who do it for nothing pretty much because there is no wages at this level unless you’re a Drapac or Budget or one of those teams.

CN: What are your thoughts on the NRS as a whole?
There are a lot of professional people out there. Scott Sunderland ran the series last year and I've worked with Scott since back in the 1970’s and the people in the federation are very professional with what they do. Safety, there is no doubt about it, and in general the NRS is a very good series and it's the only way to lift the profile of cycling in Australia.

Subaru-Albion for 2014: Douglas Freeburn, Camerion Harrison, Kierin Lewis, Paul Edelstein, Darcy Ellerm-Norton, David Bleakley, Anthony Murray, Keegan Aitchison, Ben de Groot, Sam Iremonger, Tirian McManus, Joshua Aldridge, John Peppard, Ian Gardiner, Alex Beedie, Saxon Irvine and Daniel Molyneux

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Zeb Woodpower is the Australian editor at Cyclingnews. Based in Sydney, Zeb provides an Australian perspective on the sport with articles ranging from the local to the global . He joined Cyclingnews in 2013.

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