NRS Shorts: A round up of Australian domestic racing

This week's NRS shorts is light on in terms of racing but we still have the latest for you on the 2014 recipient of the 2014 Amy Gillett Scholarship, news of a new Victorian team and a special birthday treat by a Sydney NRS team. Also this week is an account of Jacob Renstall's Canadian adventures.

Overseas wrap: Avanti and Budget
Avanti Racing team have continued its Asian racing program at the Tour de Korea with promising results but as of stage 5, they are yet to claim a stage win. Meanwhile, BudgetForklift are participating in another North American race at the Tour de Beauce. On the queen stage to Mont Meganitc, Tim Roe was eighth which propelled him into the top-ten overall as he continues his good run of results since returning to racing.

Lizzie 'Dizzie' after being awarded the 2014 Amy Gillett Scholarship
Specialized-Securitor's Lizzie Williams has been awarded the 2014 Amy Gillett Scholarship which continues her dream return to professional racing after a 10-year hiatus. Williams won the final stage of the Mersey Valley Tour, her return to NRS racing, and added two more wins to her palmares at the Battle on the Border which resulted in Vanderkitten offering her a guest contract with the US-based team.

There were 16 applicants for the scholarship, which is in honour of Amy Gillett, and is unique in offering the opportunity to assist Australia's talented up-and-coming women road cyclists by providing competition and training opportunities on both the national and international stage.

"The simple fact is, I love riding my bike. Being an ambassador for the Amy Gillett Foundation, I now have an international platform to spread their good work," Williams said.

This year the Amy Gillett Road Cycling Scholarship recipient will be starting some of best Elite Women's races on the world calendar, the first of which is the Thüringen Rundfahrt in Germany [home of Amy's memorial] followed by the inaugural La Course by Le Tour de France in Paris.

AGF CEO and UCI vice-president Tracey Gaudry was delighted by the choice Williams and is backing the 30-year-old to continue her dream comeback.

"The Amy Gillett Cycling Scholarship provides an amazing stepping stone for a developing athlete. The possibility of competing amongst the World's best in the first ever La Course by Le Tour de France is a career dream," said Gaudry.

Jacob Restall's Canadian adventure
Charter Mason have been one of the men's NRS teams to watch in 2014 and with the mid-season break in racing, 20-year-old Jacob Restall headed off to Canada for a handful of races with the blessing of team owner Leigh Parsons. The Queenslander had to postpone his racing debut with NCCH at the UCI 2.2 Grand Prix de Saguenay having been hit by a car prior to the start of the race.

Following the race, the NCCH team headed to Montreal for the Mardis Lachine where Restall's trip turned around as he explains.

"Not knowing what to expect from myself at the race after having such a rough start to my Canadian debut, I was happy to be aggressive and stretch the legs out," Restall said.

"Kit on, tyres pumped and legs oiled. The peloton was lined up at 25m to go awaiting their call-ups. With the VIP's lined up across the start/finish line, they rolled out the red carpet and commenced the call-ups."

At the race was Ag2r-La Mondiale's Hugo Houle along with several ex-pros and world class bike riders in a high quality field and there was plenty of nerves for Restall.

It was an aggressive start to the race with attacks flying thick and fast but they were all being controlled by the sprinter's team but as Restall recounts, this was a race in which the break would succeed.

"Even though Ben was getting a free ride across, I backed off the pressure on the front. Once they joined it made a four man break. There wasn't any time to play around and conserve energy so we pinned it, swapping off well and extending our gap back to the main bunch."

A perfect team ride by Perry saw Restall claim his maiden win on Canadian soil, which after all the hard work and tough times, was pure elation.

"We couldn't have managed the break much better. Ben attacked on the last lap, forcing the other two riders to chase and hopefully take some sting out of their legs. Once Ben was caught he led out the sprint where I started third wheel.

"I forced Hugo around to the right of Ben as I went to the left, and a drag race to the line ensued. It was won in the final throw to the line and I knew I had it. We. Were. Stoked!"

The consummate professional was quick to thank everyone who helped him race in Canada with Parsons, Rick Lee of NCCH, family and friends back home and his very laid back coach Peter Richards from TECO Training all garnering praise from Restall.

New Victorian team with national aspirations
Tonight sees the launch of a new North-Western Melbourne based cycling team with aspirations of competing in the 2015 NRS series. The team's goal is to develop young athletes primarily from the North Western suburbs of Melbourne and provide them with opportunities to pursue cycling that they would not otherwise have.

Known as CityCycleWest with PhysioHealth and CELL Bikes as the major sponsors, the team is keen to establish an environment in which its riders can balance their cycling, academic and career ambitions.

"We identified a shared interest in helping young cyclists achieve their best as athletes, in an environment that developed career skills to fall back on post-cycling," Mark Neiwan, one of the two team mangers said.

The idea of the team gained traction at the 2013 Tour of Bright, and Neiwan along with co-team manager Rodney Dedman, set about creating the team from the ground up.

Dedman and Newian secured the team's existence with support from PhysioHealth, CELL Cycles and Adaptive Human Performance who have pledged their support behind the team philosophy of giving people in Melbourne's West the equal opportunities as others elsewhere.

In its debut year, team will be focused on the Victorian Road Series with the intention of tackling the 2015 NRS.

The foundation team members include: Callan Douglas, James Pain, Mitchell Dedman, Loki Tomarsh and Thomas Slingsby.

A Celebratory  birthday
Sydney NRS team, CellarbrationsRacing, gave its team manager Russell Menzies a birthday to remember last week when Josh Berry reprised Marilyn Monroe's rendition of "Happy Birthday Mr President."

Berry has only been racing competitively for two years after he made the switch to the road from Continental-level triathlon which saw him compete in Australia and France. He made his debut for the team at January's national championships in Buninyong but may have just a third career path post-cycling.

With his birthday video for Menzies, Berry may just start have started a new trend in the NRS, so team managers beware…

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