Welsford Secures Tour Down Under Debut

Thursday, 11 January 2018 posted by Sally Prowd

ACA-Ride Sunshine Coast’s Sam Welsford has been selected for a place in the UniSA-Australia composite team set to race in next week’s Santos Tour Down Under.

The race is the biggest in the Southern Hemisphere and the only Australian stage race with UCI WorldTour status.

It is a huge achievement for the 21-year old Welsford, a track specialist and reigning team pursuit world champion and Olympic silver medallist, who has joined the ACA-Ride Sunshine Coast team to bolster his road racing experience.

“To race at Tour Down Under has always been a dream of mine, so I’m very excited to get the chance,” said Welsford.

“I’ve come into some good form recently, after some wins on the track at the Tassie Carnivals and then some good results at Nationals last week, so I’m really looking forward to testing my legs against some big sprinters. I know it will be a step up in intensity, but I’m keen to see what the UniSA-Australia team can pull off.”

The UniSA-Australia team is selected annually following the National Road Championships, and offers some of the nation’s best riders in Continental and Pro Continental teams the chance to race at WorldTour level.

ACA-Ride Sunshine Coast team director Ben Kersten said it is a huge opportunity for Welsford, and will allow him to test his skills against some of the world’s best riders.

“The TDU attracts the world’s biggest teams, and most send their top sprinters to get in some early-season racing out of the European winter,” said Kersten.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for Sam in terms of the experience gained and it’s also a huge chance for him to showcase his talent on the world stage, with all of the big teams watching.”

“The TDU’s opener, the People’s Choice Classic on Sunday, is a particularly good opportunity for Sam, it’s a circuit race that suits his characteristics and we’re excited to see what he can do in a straight-up sprint against some of the world’s best sprinters. He’s got the speed to be competitive against those guys, but it’s the experience of racing at this level that will be invaluable for him,” said Kersten.

The Santos Tour Down Under begins in Adelaide Sunday 14th January with the People's Choice Classic, followed by stage one on Monday 15th January. All stages of the race will be broadcast exclusively across the Nine Network from Sunday.   

Cameron Scott Storms to Victory in Nationals U23 Criterium

Thursday, 4 January 2018 posted by Sally Prowd

ACA-Ride Sunshine Coast’s Cameron Scott stormed to victory in the team’s first official outing, the Australian National Criterium Championship in Ballarat last night. The team took four of the top ten spots in the race, with Sam Welsford in third, Toby Orchard fourth and Aidan Kampers rounding out the top ten.

Scott started the race as one of the favourites, after winning five from five recent criteriums, but he faced a quality field of riders eager for early success in Ballarat.

“I had a lot of confidence after the recent wins, so I’ve definitely hit some good form,” said Scott.

“It was our first outing as a team, and I wasn’t sure how well we would ride together, but I was super happy at how well the guys all rode as a team.”

ACA – Ride Sunshine Coast fielded a team of seven riders, with Aidan Kampers, Amarni Gates, Ashley Mackay, Cameron Scott, Toby Orchard, Michael Potter and Sam Welsford all in the hunt for a result.

The 33km criterium around the historic centre of Ballarat featured 30 laps of a 1.1km hotdog course. Kampers and Scott established a three-man breakaway mid-way through the race. Scott and Dylan Sunderland (Bennelong Swiss Wellness) went clear with two laps to go, with Scott leading out the sprint and taking a convincing win over Sunderland. Welsford won the bunch sprint to take third.

“It didn’t quite go to plan but we found ourselves in a pretty good situation at the end,” said Scott.

“So we changed things up a bit and I did what I needed to do to get the win.”

“Having Aidan there in the break helped, he did a great job to keep the pace on, give me a bit of recovery after my turns and to keep us out in front.”

Due to the extreme heat predicted in Victoria over the weekend, organizers today announced Saturday’s road race would be shortened to 92.8kms.

“For us the shortened course gives us a better chance, last year I struggled a bit with the distance,” said Scott.

“I’m really looking forward to the road race on Saturday, and seeing what we can do as we learn together as a team and progress our teamwork.”

2018 Season Gets Underway at National Road Championships today 3rd of January

Wednesday, 3 January 2018 posted by Sally Prowd

ACA – Ride Sunshine Coast are quietly confident of their chances going into their first official racing at this week’s Australian National Road Championship, following an impressive string of wins at the Tasmanian Christmas Carnivals.

Sam Welsford, Cameron Scott and Kelland O’Brien were dominant in the carnivals, between them cleaning up the four wheelraces, three criteriums and four scratch races on offer across the week-long carnival program.

Scott took a clean sweep of the three criteriums, with Welsford making it one-two for the team. Welsford took three from four wheelraces, all four scratch races and became the first ever rider to win three consecutive Burnie Wheelraces. And O’Brien cleaned up in the Devonport wheelrace, where he took an impressive victory over the field from scratch.

The National Road Championships get underway in Ballarat on 3 January, and ACA – Ride Sunshine Coast will field riders in all three events, including the criterium, time trial and road race.

The team’s campaign kicks off on 3 January at 15:30 AEDT, with young guns Mitch Wright and Elliot Schultz lining up for the U19 criterium. At 16:30 the U23 men take to the streets with a full squad including favourites Cameron Scott and Sam Welsford.

The U19 and U23 Time Trials are next up on the program, on 4 January. Kelland O’Brien is tipped as the one to watch in the U23 event, after he showed his form with a win in the Devonport Wheelrace on New Year’s Eve. The U19 event kicks off at 12:45, followed by the U23’s at 14:40.

The final event on the program is the road race, on Saturday 6 January, with the U19’s off at 11:30 for a 104.4km circuit race around the streets of Buninyong, and the U23’s taking on 139.2kms at 15:00. The team will field a full squad of eight in the U23 event, where Sam Welsford is an outside chance for the win, while defending champion Mitch Wright is highly favoured to take another win in the U19 division.

Welsford showed he’s in great form ahead of the Championship, dominating the track events at the Tasmanian carnivals.

“The Road Nationals will be the first time the team races together, so I’m keen to see what we can produce. I’ve got my eye on the criterium, but I’m also eager to see what I can do in the road race. All of the boys are riding well though, so I’m predicting some good results for the team,” said Welsford.

Team Director Ben Kersten said the team was prepared for a big start to the season.

“We’re super excited to be fielding such a great team at our first official events as the ACA – Ride Sunshine Coast. We have a few great medal chances across all events for the week and I am quietly confident of coming away with a medal,” said Kersten.

You can follow our results on Twitter and Instagram at @aca_cycling and on Facebook. Or follow the event’s live stream via SBS:

https://www.sbs.com.au/cyclingcentral/video/11819587988/LIVE-FedUni-RoadNats-Criteriums

Introducing a new generation in Australian cycling

Monday, 11 December 2017 posted by Sally Prowd

Former Australian champions, Matt Wilson and Ben Kersten, team up with Sunshine Coast Council and University of the Sunshine Coast, to create a better future for Australian cyclists, on and off the bike. The team officially launches today, with a media launch and presentation of riders, Monday 11 December at University of the Sunshine Coast.

Commonwealth Games gold medallist, Ben Kersten, and current Orica-Scott World Tour Director, Matt Wilson have founded the Australian Cycling Academy (ACA), an under 23 racing team and development program designed to support young cyclists to reach their potential and provide a genuine pathway to professional ranks.

The ACA men’s continental professional team, ACA-Ride Sunshine Coast, will target races in Australia and Asia. The team has signed some of the best young cyclists in Australia, including several of Australian cycling’s best medal hopes at the upcoming Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. Former World Tour rider Leigh Howard, a multiple world champion and Tour de France rider will race for the team alongside current world champions Sam Welsford and Kelland O’Brien.

The ACA’s comprehensive athlete-centric model incorporates training, racing, a tertiary education scholarship program and professional mentoring. The ACA will also operate customised training camps for cyclists of all levels from the Sunshine Coast.

“The ACA offers athletes the opportunity to study and learn professional skills while they chase their sporting dreams,” said Kersten. “We’re fortunate to have the backing of USC and Sunshine Coast Council so that we can be based in one of the best cycling destinations in the world”.

“We care about more than just results on the road; we want to see better outcomes for Australian cyclists,” said Kersten. “We are committed to providing a genuine pathway for young riders, we are here to nurture talent and we want athletes to have options beyond sport.”

USC’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Hill said the university’s nationally accredited facilities and dedicated athlete support resources made the University an ideal hub for the ACA.

“USC is building the ultimate environment to give high-performing and emerging athletes the opportunity to flourish, supported by world leaders in coaching, performance development and sport and exercise science research,” he said.

“We’ve developed a very successful High Performance Student Athlete program that integrates elite sport with a quality education. It allows talented athletes to pursue their educational and sporting goals at the same time.”

Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson said the launch of the ACA boosted the Sunshine Coast’s already strong reputation as an ideal location for high performance sports training.

“In partnership with USC and other key sports industry stakeholders, we are continuing to add to our wide range of national and international standard training facilities, ensuring that our region is becoming the destination of choice for high performance sports,” he said.

“Sports and fitness are an important part of the lifestyle on our Sunshine Coast, and play an important part in supporting our regional economy. The sport and fitness industry generates more than $440 million in economic activity each year and is a contributor to one of the region’s seven high-value industries.

“We look forward to warmly welcoming the ACA riders to their new home base and we’re excited to see the Sunshine Coast brand emblazoned on the team’s kit, which will be showcased at many high-profile national and international cycling events.” For continued updates, follow the ACA on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter @aca-cycling.

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