A sprint heavy squad will head overseas for the UCI Tour of China 1 & 2 while the team competing at the Tour of Gippsland will feature current NRS 1st and 2nd ranked riders Brenton Jones and Joe Cooper.
The team’s last visit to China was in 2009 at the Tour of Qinghai Lake. From a sporting level it wasn’t a good experience with altitude and food poisoning combining to cripple the team and seriously undermine the rest of the season. This time the team will head across with their eyes wide open. Race doctor Tim Devlin has left no stone unturned in preparing the squad for the challenges they will face with particular attention paid to nutrition and personal hygiene. The tour which starts this Saturday will also be raced at “normal” altitude taking place in Xian region, 1000km inland from Shanghai. Despite not having a general classification contender in China the squad is still focused on results and will target the flatter stages and sprints with Neil Van Der Ploeg. Van Der Ploeg will be supported by Jack Beckinsale, Sam Davis, Aaron Donnelly, Anthony Giacoppo and Tom Robinson.
The Tour of Gippsland starts Wednesday and once again promises to be a fiercely fought affair with Budget Forklifts, Charter Mason and African Wildlife Safaris all fielding strong teams. Brenton Jones will look to collect more points and could be a chance at the overall while Joe Cooper will hope to find his form again in his first race back from a broken pelvis.