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22
Mar

Tour Down Under

EMBA – Ozone Cleaning Specialists –Tour Down Under Team

Stage Four

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Enormous crowds turned out to watch the final round of the tour at Victoria Park. The team was presented with a very difficult task – prevent time losses in extremely windy conditions on a tight track when the top teams would be clamouring over final standings. The early pace did not disappoint. Within the first five laps more than twenty riders had been dropped. Our girls kept a close eye on the front of the group while maintaining safe positioning out of the wind at the back of the field. As riders fatigued and fell off the back of the group, the team kept communicating with each other and jumping the flagging riders to reposition themselves so as to not get dropped as well. There were a few heart-stopping moments – a bit of Tokyo drifting from Victoria as she put her bike sideways when two riders in front of her tangled – luckily Plan B (riding into the spectators) wasn’t needed when everyone managed to untangle themselves. The final three laps was simply an exercise of survival – by now nearly half the field had been lapped and disqualified, but we had three girls hanging in, and finishing safely ensconced within the main bunch.

Most pleasingly, the team, by sheer survival and by finishing with three riders with the main bunch, did move up the ladder to finish 9th overall, a staggering achievement from a team with no NRS pedigree! Thank you to our sponsors and supporters. We hope to be back next year stronger than ever!

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Stage Three

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Team Manager Simon Veitch was joined in the team car by team sponsors representing Blackchrome, for the Tanunda-Athlestone Stage Three. They would all have an incredibly unique viewpoint to an aggressive 72km road stage which included Checkers Hill. The field was initially split after the 2km climb out of Williamstown, but the riders had all come back together for the approach to Checkers Hill. The team had only started with four riders, and all of them were within the main field heading onto what would be the defining climb of the race. All of our riders climbed incredible well. Nusha, who is very new to racing, had maintained excellent positioning up to this point of the race and led out a column of EMBA riders down the right side of what was now a very crowded road leading onto Checkers Hill. The vast majority of the field was climbing slower than we were, so our column made steady progress. Victoria was first of the team to conquer the climb and settled into a fast chase group which set to work to bring back the lead bunch. This group would collect the riders being spat out from the font of the race, but the leading eleven stayed away, Victoria’s group finishing 1min 14 seconds down. Lucy and Holly both finished in the third bunch, 3minutes 34 seconds down on the lead group. The descent from Checkers had seen Nusha safely down and settled into a third chase group. The team solidified their hold on 11th place overall, and were in striking distance of two teams in front of them, but heading into the team’s less favoured criterium format, the task of moving up in the standings was going to be a difficult one.

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Stage Two

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Criteriums are not yet a major strength of this team. Our objective for the tour was to get as much time on the road stages, and to simply minimise losses on the criteriums. Even more importantly we wanted to race injury and incident free. Unfortunately, our Team Captain had an aggressive conversation with a steel crowd barrier – and the barrier won! Using all of her experience of racing at NRS level, Lucy took a lap out and then rejoined the field without penalty. The team was able to prevent time loss for this stage, with four riders finishing with the main bunch. The Average speed of the race: 44km/hr!

Stage One

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The EMBA Ozone Cleaning Specialists squad lined up against the top National Road Series teams and two International teams. The only local wildcard entry, there were fairly low expectations of the squad as voiced by the event organisers. Subsequently, we were all pretty nervous and concerned that we could be well off the race pace.

Stage One was a 59km road race from Woodside to Murray Bridge, and as we expected the race was aggressive from the gun. The average speed of the race was 43km/hr – which anyone can appreciate is an incredibly tough day in the saddle. The team had very clear objectives. We expected the pace to go on heading through the climbs out of Nairne, so our priority for this stage was to not get blocked behind the weaker riders as the pace went on at the front. Our tactics were spot on! We anticipated correctly and four of our riders were able to secure positions within the front of the field as the pace went on – the field was decimated. The climb at the 35km mark saw the field split again and three groups formed. Four of our riders, Victoria, Lucy, Holly and Narelle were working hard to maintain positions within the second group.

We were chasing a gap of just over a minute to the front group when, heading into Murray Bridge, we noticed a Wiggle team rider on the side of the road getting a spare bike from their team car. As we approached, the World Champion stripes could be seen – Bronzini (two-time World Champion) had punctured and was about to rejoin our bunch! If we thought we were riding hard up until that point, the whole team was stretched as the Wiggle team started to drive the front in an effort to minimise Bronzini’s time gap. By the time our group crossed the finish line, the time gap had been brought back to 42 seconds, and with three riders holding onto the group in the last 3km, EMBA was ranked 11th after the first stage.

22
Mar

Elite Criterium Series

EMBA – Ozone Cleaning Specialists –Elite Women’s Team

Race Four

The team which raced the Elite Women’s Criterium Series came together a few weeks before racing commenced. The first race was the first time our ladies had ever raced together and few had team’s racing experience, while the one rider who had raced as a Tour Lead Rider for EMBA, Victoria, had zero criterium experience. Possibly not a magic formula for a successful first attempt at the series.

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We had a slow start to the series, but as can be seen from our previous updates, the ladies had enough overall strength to make up ground very quickly. Going into the fourth round the objectives were quite complex for the team and would have to involve excellent execution of team tactics. The situation was as follows:

  • We had a fragile hold on Third Overall for the Team’s Trophy
  • Victoria was sitting precariously in second place for the Masters Leaders Jersey – having to beat three riders to stay there.
  • Victoria had a one point margin for Third Overall for the General Classification Leaders Jersey, with none other than ex-Orica rider Carlee Taylor breathing down her neck.
  • So, Victoria had to beat four riders, and the team had to make sure that none of those riders were assisted into breakaways, preferably letting Victoria take care of her rivals in the bunch sprint.

The day didn’t disappoint. Natalie and Kerianne were aggressive from the outset. Initially they were chased down, but as most of the leading riders were marking Victoria, some leniency was developing in the attempts to bring back breakaway attempts and Kerianne was able to launch a strong move off the front with a muted response from the bunch. Kerianne was joined by a further four riders who formed an organised working group, but Kerianne was clearly pulling the majority of the work. Kerianne finished her first class effort with a strong sprint to second place. Back in the main bunch, the fight for the bunch sprint for 6th-10th place was still determining final standings on the podiums. Without hesitating, Victoria wound up early and held off the bunch to take 6th place. Most surprisingly this also secured for the team equal First Place for both the Overall GC Rider and Masters Leader. While both Jerseys were lost on count back, it was an unexpected bonus for the team to have a rider equal first on points across the two podiums. This also meant, that having secured Third Place for the Team’s Classification, EMBA Ozone Cleaning Specialists were the only team to occupy space on all three Championship Podiums. Kerianne’s Second Place for the stage, was the icing on a very big cake!

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EMBA – Ozone Cleaning Specialists –Elite Women’s Team

Race Three

The third round of the Elite Women’s Criterium Series saw a return to Victoria Park for the short circuit – expected to put the bunch on edge through tighter turns. There was blood in the water for more than just course technicalities. The SASI flight back from Melbourne had been cancelled which meant their ENTIRE team was a no-show, and the other teams would always clamour to take advantage and claw back their significant lead!

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Early on into the race, international rider Carlee Taylor seemed to be signalling that she was going to use the race in her Nationals preparations – or at least it seemed that way to the rest of us mortals when she broke away…..and stayed away for the remainder of the race. Team Rider Natalie Redmond made a gutsy move and crossed the gap with another rider, but the effort cost her and she was eventually reeled back in. With first and second place decided, it all came down to the bunch sprint for third.

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Team Rider Victoria Veitch, as the team’s highest placed rider for GC and the Masters Leaders Jersey finished out a strong sprint to finish fourth and now sits impressively in Third Overall on GC.

EMBA – Ozone Cleaning Specialists –Elite Women’s Team

Race Two

The second round of the Elite Women’s Criterium Series gave the newly formed EMBA Ozone Cleaning Specialists Team the opportunity to strengthen their coherence as a team and bring to the fore their impressive firepower. Round one saw three riders caught behind a crash, but in round two there were no such setbacks. Narelle Hards having ridden an impressive race as reserve in round one, was listed as a team rider for round two. Along with Holly Ranson the two girls had a strong influence over the pacesetting of the race.

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For whatever reason, the overall speed of the race was a far more conservative affair than round one, but the attempted breakaways were no less fierce. All breaks were covered by at least two of our girls at all times.  The flying bell lap sounded and our team used their experience to good advantage with a lead-out formed for the sprint. Victoria Veitch led Lucy Barker and Natalie Redmond into the finishing straight. An aggressive launch saw Victoria finishing Third, and Natalie grabbing valuable points in 5th.

Round three kicks off on Sunday 21st December at Victoria Park. The team has moved into Third overall for the series with team rider Victoria now placed Fourth overall and equal First on points for the Masters Leader’s Jersey.

EMBA – Ozone Cleaning Specialists –Elite Women’s Team

Race One

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The Euride Mercedes-Benz Adelaide Team has launched the first of its planned sub-squads. The EMBA Ozone Cleaning Specialists elite women’s squad took to the road for the Elite Criterium Series hosted by Cycling SA.The course for the first outing on the 9th November, was an incredibly technical road circuit within a Port Adelaide industrial zone.  The EMBA Ozone Cleaning Services team lined up against close to 40 riders in their brand new strip.

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Six locally sponsored teams had five women each on the start line, plus a few individuals, namely Carlee Taylor of Orica AIS women’s professional cycling team.  A number of attacks set the pace high from the start, especially active at the front of the race were EBMA – Ozone Cleaning Specialists, USG and the small but dominant SASI quartet, which included Wiggle’s women’s professional cycling team newest addition, Jess Mundy.

The team took the race right up to the powerful SASI team and was able to finish with 2 riders (Victoria Veitch and Holly Ranson) in the top ten. Three riders were caught behind a crash, but reserve rider Narelle Hards was positioned well to avoid the incident and remained strong to finish just outside the top ten.  There are three races left in the series, and the team will be looking to push more riders into the top ten and hopefully consolidate points in the Masters Leaders Jersey.

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22
Mar

Tandem Project Update

April 2015

Road Development Program Powered by Clipsal

It’s been smoother sailing the past few months for the program. With Tandem Captain Mike Hoile back on deck after a shoulder reconstruction, the squad has turned serious attention to preparation for the National Road Championships. We are also in the lucky situation of having a UCI Para Event hosted by SA in the week leading up to the Nationals. This will see our tandems go up against some international competition.

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The Tour of Murray Bridge hosted by the Skinny Lattes Cycling Club was a perfect opportunity for the tandems to get some race practice. The tandems were involved in both a time trial and road race across the Adelaide Cup long weekend. The Skinny Lattes kindly allowed us to double the time trial distance they were using for the Ladies Graded Series, so that we could stretch our legs over a distance with a closer approximation to the National Championship mark. Following the time trial the program coordinators were able to assess how the development riders were faring and give some advice on training program adjustments.

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High Performance Squad Fuelled by Huon Salmon

The real fireworks of the Tour of Murray Bridge was the show down amongst our high performance crew. Kieran Murphy and Beau Wootton were early casualties, with Kieran being extremely unwell across the week, and Beau and pilot Tristan caught out by one of the many devastating attacks launched by the Michael Hoile/Nathan Hunter pairing. Nathan Hunter is one of the squad’s Elite single bike riders, and is undergoing training with Mike Hoile in preparation for piloting Kieran Modra at the Nationals. The A Grade pairing was brutal, but could not summarily dislodge the Modra/Murray or Williams/Miller pairings. Damien Williams has again be brought down from QLD to ride for the EMBA squad, and snuck across the line for second place in a dog fight between the three tandems that went down to the wire.

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It is with great pride that we announce that we have three tandems, Kieran Modra, Kieran Murphy and Beau Wootton, who will represent the squad in State colours for the Nationals. The selection is a very positive reflection on the development occurring within the squad. Our congratulations go out to all three riders and their pilots.

March 2015

Road Development Program Powered by Clipsal

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It’s been a difficult couple of months for the program. A major accident at a Victoria Park tandem criterium saw Tandem Captain Michael Hoile on the ground with a broken collar bone and avulsed ligaments. Reconstructive surgery was needed and the painful road to recovery began. The program has felt his loss, with pilot shortages leaving the program juggling as the single bike racing ramped up leading into the end of the year. Somehow we managed to make it work with some pilots pulling tandem duties after races etc to make sure everyone got out on the road across the week.

Our fabulous pilots not only worked double time to sustain the training load for our vision impaired athletes, but our human resources were pooled to undertake a major clean-up of tandem base camp. Mike Hoile’s shed was very generously turned over to the program more than two years ago, but it couldn’t be anticipated how big the program would grow. To give our athletes and their equipment clear space, a major investment in new storage equipment was made and the clean up began.

High Performance Squad Fuelled by Huon Salmon

Despite the accident in the second criterium of the Skinny Lattes Series at Victoria Park, the racing was still an opportunity for our high performance riders to lock horns, and was valuable experience for our development tandems. We even pulled out World Championship level pilot Mathew Miller to partner with young gun Beau Wootton in the battle over the tandem powerhouse duo of Kieran Murphy and National Champion pilot David Parsons. The criterium was always going to favour Mathew Miller – team sprinter for the EMBA Elite Team, with Beau finishing with line honours in the race.

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Women’s Squad Driven by City Crane Trucks

We are pleased to report that our women’s tandem team is developing very well. Both Jessye and Joanne are loving the program, and both have developed their endurance to handle the three hours of riding on a Saturday morning. Seasoned rider Lizzie has clocked a personal best average speed at the Port Adelaide Time Trial season, with a 35km/hr average with competition pilot Victoria Veitch. Lizzie is also completing repeats of Norton Summit, and is climbing old enemy Ansteys Hill with good power and endurance.

Special Events and Achievements

Our Fundraiser at the Mercedes-Benz Adelaide dealership was a resounding success with 200 tickets sold to the event – good evidence that the Tandem Project has good traction with the cycling community and with the clients of our sponsors. You couldn’t hope for more gracious and generous hosts than Mercedes-Benz Adelaide. Their support in the lead up to the event and on the night was so very much appreciated. We had many generous donations on the night from our major sponsors. Mercedes-Benz Adelaide donated drive days, Clipsal provided tickets to the Clipsal 500, and Cafasso Motor Body Repairs repainted our three old blue Cannondale tandems with fantastic custom artwork.

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October 2014

Road Development Program Powered by Clipsal

It has been an extraordinarily busy time for the program. While a gala fundraiser for the project was steadily constructed, the day to day business of the development program continued. Following the team’s resounding success at the Road Nationals, the squad then backed up for the State Time Trial and Road Race. The fields were fairly limited but it was still an opportunity for our two fastest tandems to take on some rivals. High Performance Squad pilot and Tandem Project Captain Mike Hoile was on duty for Development Squad member Kieran Murphy, with the pairing taking out the Time Trial, winning over a tandem that secured a bronze medal in the national Time Trial. Beau Wootton and Dave Parson were the only contenders in the junior category so were racing with the seniors. They were unlucky in that they were directed to turn around at an incorrect turning point, meaning valuable time was lost in turning again and continuing on to the correct u-turn. Regardless of this they still clocked the second fastest time. Simon Veitch and stoker Simon Wong won the bronze medal.

The team’s two fastest pairings represented well in the road race, with the gold going to Kieran/Mike and the silver awarded to Beau/Dave.

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The squad also competed with the Skinny Lattes Cycling Club for the first time having been invited to join them in a graded scratch race at Macclesfield. To make things interesting, we allocated handicapping to the tandem field, with Lizzie and Victoria given a 15 minute head start on Mike/Kieran, with the other tandems scattered in-between. The format worked brilliantly, with all tandems given reasonable opportunity to win. Not quite enough opportunity to outrun Kieran/Mike who galloped past everyone with Beau/Tristan in hot pursuit. The presentations were attended by the Mt Barker Mayor, who was wonderfully supportive of the Skinny Lattes event. Beautiful weather and great friendly atmosphere from the Skinny Lattes made this a fantastic day out for the program.

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It was also the first outing for one of our cannondale tandems after its new facelift courtesy of Cafasso Auto Bodies. Certainly makes for a great photo centre piece.

High Performance Squad Fuelled by Huon Salmon

While continuing to mentor the Development Program, Kieran Modra reinvented himself yet again in order to compete at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games. Having competed in endurance events at the track for the bulk of his international career, evolution was required as his pet events were not included in the Commonwealth games schedule. Instead he was paired with Jason Niblett, an accomplished International track sprinter. The pairing had less than two years to achieve the required level of form, and did themselves and this country proud by winning two silver medals – the Sprint, and the kilo.

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Para Nationals Road Championships 2014

The squad spent 12 very focused weeks preparing for the Nationals and our preparations were not without their ups and downs. We were privileged to have the support of so many fabulous pilots who were pitching in to make sure our vision impaired (VI) riders were on the road between three and four times per week. Our pilot support base is the most significant key to our success, and we are extremely grateful to have them helping us.

We also had our most significant training accident since the beginning of the program. One of our VI athletes fractured a cheek bone and eye socket and underwent two reconstructive surgeries following a training crash. Unfortunately the accident brought an end to his Nationals campaign.

We couldn’t have hoped for better results at the Nationals. The team looked truly amazing. Our kit in high numbers made a significant impact, with some people amazed to see our squad having expanded from the previous year. We continue to be the only para team run as a private enterprise.

The girls led the way, with Elizabeth D’sylva Clark and pilot Victoria Veitch taking out the bronze medal in the Time Trial. They backed up on the second day to take the silver medal in the 85km road race. It was a lesson in fortitude for Elizabeth, who was vomiting during the second of four laps. She held herself together and kept focusing on her technique as the two girls kept the pace on to hold off the bronze medallists.

The major excitement was the prestigious men’s 105km road race. The defending champions had not been beaten on home soil for five years, and have world cup titles and world records to their credit. But the Euride Mercedes-Benz Adelaide team have changed the landscape of tandem racing. The pairings of Kieran Modra/David Parsons and Damien Williams/Mike Hoile were able to control the race. An extraordinary lead out by Damien and Mike was finished off in a sprint to the line by Kieran and David who took gold over their rivals by half a bike length. Damien and Mike finished strong to claim bronze.

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March 2014

Road Development Program Powered by Clipsal

The Euride Mercedes-Benz Adelaide Team has begun training with four new pilots, which has increased the training opportunities of the entire tandem squad as they approach the National Road Championships. Training has become more focused over the last few weeks, with session involving extensive hills ride and intervals along the beach front.

The program has also taken possession of two additional bikes, with another two not far away. We have been privileged to have been assisted with very generous prices on Daccordi Tandems which are hand made in Italy.

We are also eagerly awaiting our new team kit which arrives in just under a week. The team has a new and exciting clothing supplier in Blackchrome. We have had very disappointing experiences with kit supply in the past, with companies unable to guarantee quality and service. Blackchrome provided us with very rapid order deliveries, and had quality control measures which vastly outperformed other companies.

High Performance Squad Fuelled by Huon Salmon

Kieran Modra is currently on a training camp in preparation for the World Championships in Mexico – the athletes are not terribly thrilled on the destination. They have all been informed that they are not to be eating ANY meat while away, and must have bottled water only. The water prohibition is due to hygiene concerns, while the meat restriction is due to the high level of steriod use in the Mexican meat market which would result in positive drug testing.

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Our best wishes to Kieran who continues to train to an exceptional standard while providing leadership and mentorship to the program.

Special Events and Achievements

Our squad recently rode a demonstration event at the prestigious Whitmore Square Criterium. Thank you to the Norwood Cycling Club for being so supportive and inclusive of our tandems.

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February 2014

Road Development Program Powered by Clipsal

The development squad has now begun training aimed at the Road Para Nationals in May in Echuca. The sessions available for our vision impaired athletes have been increased from one to four times per week. It is a bold undertaking, with all of our instructors generously donating the extra time to be piloting for these additional and extended sessions. The squad is now heading into the hills on a regular basis, and we have started to set initial PB times over the National Time Trial distance.

We are proud to announce that Beau Wootton has been promoted to the high performance squad, and we have paired him with Dave Parson (National Road Series Rider) as his permanent competition pilot. Well done to Beau for working through some difficult times, and for developing into such an impressive High Performance candidate at the age of 15.

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The entire squad featured in the promotions for the Ride Like Crazy. We were given coverage on Chanel 9, Chanel 7, SBS and ABC 24. We were also the headline act in conjunction with the Blind Sporting Council at the City of Prospect Tour Down Under Street Festival. The tandems performed their magic in front of a massive crowd.

High Performance Squad Fuelled by Huon Salmon

While fun and mayhem was occurring during the Tour Down Under, High Performance training partners Mike Hoile and Victoria Veitch completed the fastest tandem ride ever clocked at the Alpine Classic. The 200km/4000 verticle metre epic was completed in 7 hours 30 mins. The number of comments made as the tandem cut down the descents at warp speed was one thing, but what most people couldn’t understand is how fast the tandem was climbing the 30km Falls Creek, Tawonga Gap and Mt Buffalo. Both squads will remain committed to the type of public events that promote the exceptional performance of the tandems and their sponsors.

On a more sobering note, the High Performance Squad was faced with their most challenging Thursday morning training session when riding city bound up Anzac Highway. A driver travelling in the opposite direction has crossed the median strip and continued to drive head on at the squad in the bike lane – wanting to turn into a street (they later attempted to explain to the police that they had mistakenly turned too early and didn’t see the problem in travelling into oncoming traffic the final 50metres to get to the street). All of the tandems did a brilliant job in taking evasive action to get out of the way of the vehicle – kudos to the pilots. However one of our single bike squad members was cleaned up in the carnage and hit the road at 45km/hr. Best wishes for a speedy recovery!!

November 2013

Road Development Program Powered by Clipsal

The Road Development Program saw the trainees front up to Bradbury for a tough Norwood Cycling Club GSR, with this being the sixth week of the ten week basic training phase. Many thanks to NCC who were incredibly accommodating in negotiating the race distance, and in allowing our two Juniors to start with the Senior contenders, giving them an opportunity to get the atmosphere of a larger race. The Juniors (Beau piloted by Kym Clark, and Tyson piloted by John Zivanovic) went head to head for 5 laps of the 6km course. The Senior division saw three Development Squad tandems take on three tandems from the High Performance Squad over a gruelling 10 laps of the hilly course. Beau had a hard won victory in the Juniors, with his experience in having been a Development Squad member since last year paying dividends over Tyson. The upset of the day, was trainee pilot Liam Murphy (with Project Manager Victoria Veitch stoking) sneaking in for third place. Multiple laps of a short course proved vital in allowing the trainers to iron out mistakes in gear selection, and to identify issues with climbing style, out-of-the-saddle technique, and synchronicity of cornering. Most importantly, everyone appeared to have a blast despite the suffering, and it was the first time the Tandem Project fielded both of its squads in the one race.

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High Performance Squad Fuelled by Huon Salmon

The High Performance Squad was represented by our three tandems contracted to the Euride Mercedes-Benz Adelaide Team. The GSR was a bit of an eye opener as track training for the upcoming Para-Nationals has been the priority over the last few months, hence a Development Squad tandem stealing third place. Kieran and Mike rode well to first place, even after stopping for a few minutes to assist with mechanical issues with a Development Squad tandem. Brad Henderson and Tom Drizners completed a solid ride to second place, no doubt somewhat fatigued by their excellent results at the track meet the week before.