The Avanti Racing Team is not resting on its laurels during the Subaru National Road Series mid-season break and has posted a string of impressive results during a recent Asian tour that included the UCI 2.1 Tour of Korea and UCI 2.2 Tour De Singkarak.
A week after team rider Jack Haig finished third overall in Korea, Avanti's Brenton Jones took two stages in Indonesia at Singkarak amongst solid international competition, which included three squads from Iran.
Team manager Steve Price says while up to four stage victories presented themselves, the competition was so stacked against them that he was happy to escape with the two wins.
"We were realistic coming over here," said Price. "To race one Iranian team is hard, to race three is nearly impossible. That said, the guys stuck to their guns and managed to pick up a couple of stages. We actually buggered up a couple as well so we could have had four, but you can't get it right all the time.
"I'm really proud of the boys and their conduct."
Jones agreed with Price's assessment.
"We had to work for those wins," Jones told Cyclingnews. "The team was strong and we nailed the lead out in the two stages I won. To come away with two wins is rewarding for both the team and me personally, and allows us to keep ticking along with our goals in 2014."
With Haig now headed to Italy to join the WorldTour Academy team in the hope of landing a contract with a WorldTour outfit, Jones and his Avanti teammates returned home this week for a break before another round of Asian racing in Malaysia and China, and then resuming the NRS that starts off again with the Tour of the Murray River at the end of July.
"The Asian races really take it out of you with the heat and humidity," said Jones. "But the confidence we have built up in the past two weeks in Asia, combined with the success we achieved at the start of the season, have all the boys on the team motivated to kickstart the second half of the NRS on a positive note."
Avanti holds a 29-point lead over BudgetForklifts in the series team classification, and team rider Joe Cooper, who is recovering from a fractured pelvis suffered at the Tour of Toowoomba in May, has a 10-point advantage over teammate Jack Haig and BudgetForklifts rider Timothy Roe.
"The main goal is for us to help Joe keep his NRS lead and for us to win the team classification," said Jones of Cooper who is expected to return to defend his lead at Murray. "For me personally, I know that teamwork wins races and the team has supported me throughout the season so I want to continue to win stages.
"I just want to train hard, do my job and let the opportunities present themselves, and I fully expect to be in the mix come Murray, Jelajah International and Melbourne to Warrnambool."
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