Freddy Ovett is chasing a strong opening-day time-trial when he leads the ACA-Ride Sunshine
Coast cycling team in their first race in Asia on Friday.
Ovett, who was 10th in the Jayco Herald Sun Tour in Victoria last month, is the new team's General Classification rider for the three-stage Tour de Tochigi
The first stage is only 14.5km but one Ovett has earmarked as the important leg.
"The impetus for me is the time trial, I feel like I can do a really good time trial and that can set up the rest of the tour,” he said before the team
flew out on Wednesday.
"It's a small time-trial, around 10 minutes.
"The second stage is 100km with a bit of a punchy finale and the last stage is pretty much a pancake flat 140 km.”
Ovett was a late signing to the Continental development team after riding with Under-23 squads in France and Spain.
He immediately had an impact with ACA-Ride Sunshine Coast, impressing with his climbing in the Victorian hills.
"The Herald Sun was our first race together and it went super well ... and just the dynamic with the team (was excellent),” he said.
"We have a super young team and with Benny Kersten and Matt Wilson on board (as directors)
there's just a wealth of knowledge and you can't buy that.”
Ovett, whose father Steve was an Olympic gold medal-winning runner for Great Britain, grew up on the Coast and has returned after three years in Europe.
The 24-year-old said while he appreciated the experience, he was grateful to be back.
"Noosa was always home for me and it still is,” he said. "Going for rides down to Coolum, Marcoola, that just feels right for me, it feels like home.”
He returned to the Coast last week from a training stint in Girona, Spain, and faces a lot more international travel over the rest of the year.
"From June, July onwards we're going to have a lot of high-level racing across Asia, Japan, China and Korea,” Ovett said. "We're a super young team and
everyone brings something different to the table and that's pretty special.”
He said he was looking forward to his first visit to Japan.
"It's probably the number one place in the world that I want to go to in terms of countries,” he said.
Ovett is currently studying a Graduate Certificate in Business Administration as part of the University of the Sunshine Coast's High Performance Student
He said the ACA's partnership with the University helped the cyclists to focus on both their career and the future.
"We train a lot, but there's always downtime to open a laptop, or do like some of the other local boys and go to lectures in person,” Ovett said.
"I think it's important to stimulate the mind to give you a rest from the bike and potentially set up something after cycling.”
He said Kersten and Wilson had encouraged the riders in the development team to take up studying.
"They know it's going to help us on the bike as well, to create well-rounded athletes,” he said.
The Tour de Tochigi begins in Oyama, north of Tokyo, on March 23.
The Australian Cycling Academy is a new development cycling team supported by major partner, the Sunshine Coast Council, and based out of the high performance
precinct of the University of the Sunshine Coast.
Lives: Noosa and Girona, Spain
Team: ACA-Ride Sunshine Coast
Former teams: AG2R's Chambéry CF (France), and Caja Rural (Spain)
History: He had a scholarship at the University of Oregon as a runner before an injury led him to take up cycling as rehab. He switched to cycling fulltime
Family: His father Steve won gold for Great Britain in the 800m at the Moscow Olympics.
Story by Phillip Rodda, Sunshine Coast Daily