Australian Cycling Academy / Ride Sunshine Coast takes off in first few months of racing
  • Monday 29 January 2018
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It’s been an action packed and highly successful few months for the Sunshine Coast’s newest national professional sporting team – Australian Cycling Academy / Ride Sunshine Coast.

The team, launched in December, have recorded a number of wins and podium spots in its first national and international races.

Tourism, Sport and Major Events Portfolio Councillor Jason O’Pray praised the team’s initial results.

“Establishing the ACA training boosts the Sunshine Coast’s reputation for high performance sports training – and the team’s first few solid results certainly reinforces this,” Cr O’Pray said.

“Ride Sunshine Coast emblazoned on the team jerseys is also a fantastic way to showcase our region as a destination of choice for cycling.”

ACA Rider Cameron Scott stormed to victory in the team’s first official race, the Australian National U23 Criterium Championship in Ballarat, with the team taking four of the top ten places in the race, including Sam Welsford in third, Toby Orchard fourth and Aidan Kampers in tenth.

In the Men’s U23 National Road Race Championship, Michael Potter claimed the bronze medal after a tough race in extremely challenging conditions.

In the team’s first international race, the highly regarded New Zealand Cycle Classic, the team recorded two wins with both Kell O’Brien and Cam Scott taking stage honours and Michael Potter finishing fifth overall.

Further testament to the depth of talent in the team, was the selection of Sam Welsford for the UniSA-Australia composite team which recently raced in the Southern Hemisphere’s only World Tour Event, the prestigious Santos Tour Down Under.

Team co-founder Matt Wilson said he was extremely proud of the team’s performance in its first events.

“With the support of our partners including Sunshine Coast Council, have put a lot of effort into this team – everything has come from scratch, every item, every staff member, every rider,” Mr Wilson said.

“We are really happy with our Road National and New Zealand Classic results, and it just shows that if we can work that well after just a few weeks together, we’re going to be great during the year.

“The cycling community is now taking note of what is happening on the Sunshine Coast and we continue to get a lot of enquiries.”

The team’s focus is now on gearing to promote Ride Sunshine Coast in the Jayco Herald Sun Tour at the end of January.

Team Director and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Ben Kersten said the upcoming Herald Sun Tour was an important test for the team.

“This is the pinnacle of the season for us,” Mr Kersten said.

“We will be racing around the world, but to compete on home turf at the Jayco Herald Sun Tour against really quality teams and riders is something special.”

Off the track, the academy continues to concentrate on talent development and the introduction of local training campaigns.

The academy recently added to its talent pool with the signing of Sunshine Coast local Freddy Ovett, who is fresh from a season riding for Caja Rural in Spain.

It also recently launched its first training camps for cyclists of all levels.

The camps, which will be run from the academy’s base at the USC High Performance Training centre, are aimed at riders who want to improve their fitness and road riding skills.

They are also designed to showcase the scenic riding routes of the Sunshine Coast and profile the region as a cycling destination.

To follow the team’s progress or for more information on the training camps visit www.aca-cycling.cc

Ride Sunshine Coast / Australian Cycling Academy is jointly sponsored by Sunshine Coast Council and University of Sunshine Coast.

Image: Cameron Scott storming to victory at the Australian National U23 Criterium Championship

Picture credit @ Con Chronis