Directeur Sportif, Henk Vogels believes that Drapac is set for a big performance, particularly in the Elite Men’s Road Race come Sunday.
“We really want to go up there and win the race… We’ve got weight in numbers and we’ve got some strong guys that are chomping at the bit to get up the road,” he explained. “It is a numbers game and we’ll hopefully make sure that we have the most amount of guys up the road and if not we’ve got a very fast sprinter in Jonathan Cantwell sitting back.”
The team will be in action on the opening day of the Championships with the events against the clock first to get underway on Friday. Unfortunately on Wednesday of last week, reigning Australian Under-23 Individual Time Trial Champion Jordan Kerby fractured his collarbone in a training accident. The injury required surgery ruling him out of the Championships.
Silver medallist in the Elite Men’s Road Race in 2013, Jack Anderson has completed extensive reconnaissance of the Toowoomba course and says that it’s a “hard” parcours that awaits competitors. A genuine all-rounder, Anderson is relishing the opportunity to race in Toowoomba.
“It’s not a climbing course and it’s not a flat course – it’s fair and very open to anyone,” he said.
“It’s not particularly hard when you look at the elevation gain and loss over the course but it’s just up and down all day,” Anderson, 26, said. “There’s no real respite. It will be hot and windy and dry and a hard man’s day even though it’s still only quite short at about 140km.”
Anderson will also compete in the time trial and explained that off the back of his eighth placing in the discipline at the Cycling Australia Road National Championships last month, another top-10 is not out of the question.
“I know that Luke Durbridge is extremely motivated to win it so he’s a genuine talent,” he said. “If I had a top five placing that would be just fantastic. I haven’t targeted the time trial specifically so I’m more here for the road race.”
Another medallist from the 2013 Championships, Adam Phelan, third in the Under-23 Men’s Individual Time Trial is another Drapac rider ready for the challenge this weekend. The Canberran is yet to tackle a fully-fledged chrono this season is looking forward to getting a measure of his form having finished third overall last up at the New Zealand Cycle Classic.
“Definitely for the TT it’s Luke Durbridge so he’s number one for that one,” said Phelan. “It’s really exciting to have him race there so you’ll be able to gauge how you’re going against one of the best in the world.
“I was pretty happy to get third overall in New Zealand,” he continued. “I wasn’t sure how it would end up. I had a bit of a rest after that and I’ve had some good training so I’m looking forward to having a bit more racing to test the form heading into the season.”
More comments from Henk Vogels and Jack Anderson can be found on the Drapac Soundcloud account.
Drapac Professional Cycling 2014 Zarraffa’s Oceania Road Championships schedule:
Individual Time Trial – Friday February 21 –
Elite Men 37km – 12:15pm
Road Race – Sunday – Sunday February 23 –
U23 & Elite Men 142km – 11:15am
Jack Anderson in action © Mark Gunter / Drapac Professional Cycling