Both riders have enjoyed success in the National Road Series (NRS) in recent seasons, with Toovey impressing with podiums at both one-day races on the calendar, Melbourne to Waroonbmool and Grafton to Inverell. The 21-year-old has continued his progression in 2017 with the NSW Institute of Sport team, catching the eye of the Trek management to earn a ride from August 1. Despite interest from other WorldTour teams, Trek was the logical destination.
Toovey's career started in earnest in 2013 when he was selected for the junior Worlds team. Following on from Florence, Brad McGee and Ben Kersten at NSWIS have guided Toovey through his career, with Kevin Poulten coaching the Mudgee-local until this year. Toovey's ride with Trek-Segafredo came about through the trio's belief in his abilities and the bicycle link between the WorldTour squad and NSWIS.
"Trek has been a major part of the team since its original year. That helped us get in contact with Trek-Segafredo for a training camp," Toovey told Cyclingnews of the pathway to his stagiaire ride. "There were only two spaces for people who ride Trek or were associated with Trek and had reasonable results and numbers to come along to the training camp which was held in Orcières in France. During the training camp we underwent testing at altitude and power data and from that, I had reasonable test results which were obviously good enough to be called up as a stagiaire."
Toovey was then called into the Trek-Segafredo team for the 2.1 Tour du Poitou Charentes in France. Mads Pedersen won the time trial to set up victory, ensuring a perfect introduction to WorldTour life for Toovey.
"Obviously being a stagiaire you just have to play your part and help out when you can," he said of the experience. "The team said they were happy at the end of the race with me helping Mads defend on the last day, riding on the front, getting bottles and all that sort of stuff. When you are at the highest level with a WorldTourr team that in itself is awesome."
With "races being down" at Trek-Segafredo and the team predominately riding WorldTour races, which stagiaires can't race, unless an opportunity arises then the Tour du Poitou Charentes will be Toovey's sole race with the team. However, a future ride with the team is a possibility as he explained.
"It's in talks at the moment. With the Drapac scare shaking the market up, I'm in talks with a few different teams at the moment but hopefully I'll have a clearer view by the end of this month as to what my plans will be for next year," he said.
Turning 22 in November, Toovey added that would take the opportunity to step into the WorldTour next year with both hands.
"I think I could potentially step up. Obviously, you have to learn on your feet, and you get thrown into the deep end with the WorldTour, but I would love to have the opportunity to show myself and develop quicker than a lot of people expect for me," he said.
Moving to Canberra and moving in with new coach Stuart Shaw, husband of Gracie Elvin, Toovey likens his characteristics to two of the territory's top exports, Michael Matthews and Nathan Haas. While Simon Gerrans is another point of reference.
"My strengths are probably on short punchy climbs with a hard finish," he said. "Races such as Milan-San Remo with the poggio towards the end, or a Mur du Huy with a short steep climb towards the end, suits my characteristics. Obviously, it is a bit of a jump up to the WorldTourr level but my characteristics are similar to those riders."
Before any move into the WorldTour, Toovey's 2017 will continue with a handful of NRS races, including Amy's Ottway, Battle on the Border and another crack at the Melbourne to Warrnambool. How the end of the year plays out and Toovey's ambitions for the 'summer of cycling' will depend on contract discussions in the coming weeks.
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