The South Coast team oozes talent and will once again be a formidable force come Wednesday when the field sets off from Mount Gambier. Covering 565km over eight stages before finishing on Sunday in Victoria’s picturesque Port Fairy the race will be hotly contested but the team is confident the can get the job done. Brenton Jones is approaching the race like an AFL team would a Grand Final. His preparation has been meticulous and he is 100 percent focused on getting a result for the team. Neil Van Der Ploeg is another rider that comes with something to prove and should suit the tough racing that the South Coast dishes up forming an integral part of the sprint squad along with Jones, Scott Law and Jack Beckinsale that was so successful at Murray River.
A big loss to the team will be the absence of previous champion Anthony Giacoppo who is still recovering form a torn hamstring sustained in Murray. “AJ is a big loss, it’s a pity he won’t be able to go for the win again but the team isn’t lacking options” said team manager Andrew Christie-Johnston. “The weather down here is always a factor so we’ll be looking to stay out of trouble, race smart and stay safe.” Filling in for AJ will be power house team Aaron Donnelly who along with Mitch Lovelock-Fay and Taylor Gunman will be the engine room the team will look to in the crosswinds and lead outs. Mark O’Brien is the only pure climber selected and will be working hard for the team while trying to hone his form for the hilly races that follow.