It's going to be a hard act to follow for the Genesys Wealth Advisers 2012 team. The class of '11 set the bar extremely high, proving almost untouchable on the Australian National Road Series in which Nathan Haas, Steele Von Hoff and Patrick Shaw finished first, second and third.
The team won all but one of the events on the Australian calendar, with the one race in which they missed out, the Grafton to Inverell, more than made up for by their show of force at the 1.HC rated Japan Cup on the same weekend.
But things will be different in 2012. The team's two stand-out riders Nathan Haas and Steele Von Hoff have embarked on professional careers with Slipstream Sports and that has left a big hole for any rider to follow. Between them, the two boasted more than 30 victories - a tally that will be hard to account for in their absence.
"Of course it's hard to replace those guys," said team manager Steve Price, "But I'm confident that we have riders who can step up next year. You can't compare what you do year-on-year but I think we have the right ingredients for a strong season next year."
The team have recruited well in the off-season and along with incumbents Anthony Giacoppo and Pat Shaw who are the most likely to assume the leadership mantle, the team's new signings; including under 23 national champion Ben Dyball and Asian Tour general classification rider Sam Davis are exciting prospects for the "orange army".
Young talent Blake Hose, who comes from John West Cycling, and former Jayco-AIS rider Alex Carver will also be interesting to see develop further under the tutelage of coaching guru Andrew Christie-Johnson.
"Blake Hose and Sam Davis are both promising riders that could well turn into good GC options as they progress," said Price. "Both are good climbers and solid against the clock and their addition will help support riders like Giacoppo and Kane Walker."
"[And we hope] Carver will step in to help fill the void left by Von Hoff. Along with Joel Pearson and Anthony Giacoppo those guys will spearhead the sprinting department us next season."
Price added that the NRS was set for a great year ahead with growing competition from rival teams relished by the Genesys manager.
"The level is going to be really high next year," said Price. "Other teams are looking strong, and it's going to be tough, but we're looking forward to the challenge."
Genesys Wealth Advisers for 2012: Alex Carver, Anthony Giacoppo, Ben Dyball, Blake Hose, Campbell Flakemore, Jason Rigg, Joel Pearson, Jonathan Lovelock, Kane Walker, Kyle Marwood, Nathan Earle, Nic Sanderson, Pat Shaw, Sam Davis and Tom Robinson.
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Alex Hinds, Production Editor
Alex Hinds is a graduate of Economics and Political Science from Sydney University. Growing up in the metropolitan area of the city he quickly became a bike junkie, dabbling in mountain and road riding. Alex raced on the road in his late teens, but with the time demands of work and university proving too much, decided not to further pursue full-time riding.
If he was going to be involved in cycling in another way the media seemed the next best bet and jumped at the opportunity to work in the Sydney office of Cyclingnews when an offer arose in early 2011.
Though the WorldTour is of course a huge point of focus throughout the year, Alex also takes a keen interest in the domestic racing scene with a view to helping foster the careers of the next generation of cycling.
When not writing for Cyclingnews Alex is a strong proponent of the awareness of cyclists on the road in Sydney having had a few close run-ins with city traffic in the past.