Announcing the first Pro Racing Sunshine Coast women's team!

Wednesday, 10 April 2019 posted by Sally Prowd

We are thrilled to announce the launch of the inaugural Australian Cycling Academy women's team!

The team will race under the same team name as the existing men's development team, Pro Racing Sunshine Coast, and from our base at the University of the Sunshine Coast.

Managing Director Ben Kersten said It has always been a priority of the ACA to launch a women’s team alongside the men’s team and he was thrilled that it has become a reality just 18 months after launching the Academy.


“The last few years have been really exciting for women’s sport in this country, we’ve seen participation rates rise in a number of the football codes and it’s fantastic that the community has recognised and embraced the quality of elite women’s talent we have in this country.

“Our first female team is a stellar line-up of athletes, including Sunshine Coast local Alex Martin-Wallace with fellow Cycling Australia development riders Samantha de Riter, Sophie Edwards and Maeve Plouffe making up the initial team squad.

“All four women are all very talented riders, each have strong aspirations to be a part of the international professional circuit so we are confident that under our tutelage we can take their performances to the next level. Our goal is to help them develop their skills so they can push towards achieving their ambition of becoming a future Olympian and Australian representative.

“We’ve been thrilled at how well the local community has embraced our men’s team so it’s just fantastic to be able to bring the ACA’s women’s team program to life on the Sunshine Coast. These women are powerful athletes to watch and I am sure our supporters will love watching their journey and development,” Ben said.

USC Director, High Performance Sport Dr Brendan Burkett said the creation of the Australian Cycling Academy has provided a professional framework for cyclists to achieve their sporting aspiration.

“This is something that many people on the Sunshine Coast have been striving to achieve for several years because we wanted to create a clear pathway to further build USC’s high-performance sport programs.
“When the Sunshine Coast based Cycling Academy was proposed there was always an intention to run a men’s and women’s program, so it is very rewarding to launch the women’s program after commencing just 18 months ago,” Dr Burkett said.
The ACA Women’s team also has the support of Cycling Australia via their Podium Potential Academy (PPA) for female endurance riders.

“A key driver of the PPA is our 'learning to win’ philosophy which is primarily driven through a track focussed program, but we recognise the importance of quality road content and road race exposure to complement this. Our new relationship with ACA provides us with a great opportunity to do this,” said Jon Norfolk, Head of Performance Pathways and People at Cycling Australia.

Ben Kersten said an Australian Sports Foundation campaign has been launched to support the women’s team in their journey.
“Our focus is on ensuring that the ACA provides exactly the same opportunities for talented young female cyclists to achieve their goals both on and off the bike. To achieve this, we are actively seeking sponsorship and philanthropic support for the women’s program and best of all, every donation is fully tax-deductible,” Ben said.

Click here to learn more about the Sports Foundation to support the women's program.

The community has the first opportunity to see both Pro Racing Sunshine Coast men’s and women’s teams in action this weekend in the inaugural Brisbane Cycling Festival with both teams competing in the National Road Series one day road race on Sunday April 14 through the streets of Brisbane.

 

Al Donohoe claims Para-cycling Track World Championships

Thursday, 28 March 2019 posted by Sally Prowd

Para-cycling track world champion Alistair Donohoe is keen to take his good form to the road, with the Tour de Langkawi in his sights.

The 24-year-old Pro Racing Sunshine Coast rider claimed the individual pursuit C5 and scratch race C5 titles at Apeldorn in the Netherlands last week.

Now, he's focused on next month's Tour de Langkawi in Malaysia, a prominent stage race that includes some of the best road riders in the world.

Pro Racing Sunshine Coast will send a team of six and sprinter Donohoe is expected to press his claims for victory in some stages.

"I've got a bit of speed now coming off the track and I'm going to try to use that to my advantage,” he said.

"I might not have the endurance to play the long, hard game and to compete on the big climbs but there are a few good-looking stages with some nice, solid hills where we could really soften everyone up and then I should be able to go for it.”

Donohoe has limited strength his right arm due to a swing accident as a youngster but has emerged as a highly-competitive rider amid elite fields.

He finished fourth in the queen stage of the Herald Sun Tour earlier this year.

"I would love to come out of (the Tour de Langkawi) with a podium. The dream is to win one of the stages,” he said.

"There are a 150 people in the race who want to win stages and there are only eight stages so it'll be incredibly hard but I will ... really back myself and if the team has the opportunity to back me as well, then I'll try and give it a red-hot crack.”

Pro Racing Sunshine Coast director Ben Kersten said Donohoe could make an impact and he'll likely be the team leader at times.

"It's a really good race for him,” he said.

"Al can get over hilly terrain. Langkawi is quite lumpy so there should be some stages for him to do well in. We'll have our other guys there helping him to do a fast sprint.”

Donohoe shaved six seconds off his personal best on the track last week and Kersten lauded his recent improvements.

"This year he's had a bit of a resurgence here at Pro Racing Sunshine Coast,” he said.

"At the Sun Tour he did extremely well ... he's got confidence and he's coming off the world titles and has speed in his legs so we're expecting great things from him.”

Donohoe is renowned for his enthusiastic approach to cycling but Kersten said they'd scaled things back.

"The best and probably worst thing is his commitment,” he said.

"He just does absolutely everything and anything he can to be better and I think in the past he has pushed that envelope a bit too far.

"So we're making sure he's getting his recovery and he's not doing too much extra and that he's not focusing too much on his weight.

"That's helping his power. He's a lot faster and he's well balanced and his head space is really good. I think he's flourishing.”

But within 24 hours of arriving on the Sunshine Coast from the Netherlands yesterday, he had already done 10 hours of training.

"So that's the focus of the team, to try and rein him back a bit. He just wants to be so good.”

Donohoe is based in Melbourne but is a rider for the University of the Sunshine Coast based Pro Racing Sunshine Coast and he visits the region for training camps.

He will be based here until they leave for the Tour de Langkawi.

Henk Vogels joins ACA management team

Thursday, 28 March 2019 posted by Sally Prowd

One of Australia's most renowned cyclists Henk Vogels has been appointed into a key development role with the Pro Racing Sunshine Coast team.

PRSC Managing Director Ben Kersten said the addition of Henk is a timely boost for the team, particularly with the ongoing expansion of the ACA's commercial assets including sponsorship, memberships, camps, training programs, events, and new partnership and engagement programs.

"I've known Henk for a long time and we've been keen to get him involved for a long time because we know how much value he can add to the team both on and off the bike. Henk's achievements on the bike are legendary and since retirement he has successfully made the transition as a cycling coach, manager and influential media commentator.

"His skillsets in partnerships and sports' directing will help drive our team to the next level while ensuring our sustainability well into the future.

"I am super excited to work with Henk again, he was my Director when I was racing as a Pro in America and I know the value he can bring to the team. He just knows how to get the best out of you and his war stories make any bike ride together very entertaining; he's the perfect Ambassador for us in our corporate networking space,” Ben said.

Henk said he has been following the ACA and PRSC Race Team from the outside since its inception in December 2017 and is especially drawn to their philosophy of Live Learn Ride.

"I am very excited to be now part of this team going forward in 2019, I'll be riding with the team, working with the management and partners, and building new relationships to ensure we are held in the highest regard locally, nationally and internationally,” Henk said.

Vogels was an Australian racing professional who rode several editions of the Tour de France, Giro d'Italia, Vuelta d'Espana, and several Olympic and Commonwealth Games across his decade long career.

Behind the scenes with Alistair Donohoe

Thursday, 14 March 2019 posted by Sally Prowd

Alistair Donohoe was on the Sunshine Coast for a training camp late last month in his warm up for the Para World Championships in March, and caught up with Cam Nicholls for a chat about his Worlds campaign and aspirations and he heads towards Tokyo 2020. 

 

PRSC Track Riders Smash World Record to claim World Championship in the team pursuit

Friday, 1 March 2019 posted by Sally Prowd

The Australian track team pursuit squad has won the world title in a world record time at the Track Cycling World Championship in Pruszkow, Poland early today.

The quartet, comprised of Pro Racing Sunshine Coast (PRSC) riders Sam Welsford, Leigh Howard, Kelland O’Brien and Alex Porter, have beaten their own world record by an astonishing 1.8 seconds, to beat the second placed British team.

A fifth member and PRSC rider, Cameron Scott, rode the first qualifying round with the team before being subbed out for Alex Porter in the final. All five received Gold medals and Rainbow jerseys.

The Australians were never challenged in the 4km race and clocked the fastest times in each of the four laps to finish in 3:48:01, 2.5 seconds ahead of their second placed rivals.

Welsford, 23, stunned to also claim Gold in the Scratch race just 30 minutes later, making him a dual World Champion in one day.

PRSC director, Ben Kersten, said he is blown away by the success of the young squad.

“It’s a phenomenal ride. To see a team ride that time is something I never thought I would see in my lifetime.

“I was there at the Sydney Olympics when the German team broke the 4-minute barrier in the team pursuit, and that was just incredible at the time. Today’s World Record time from this team would have lapped that German team, and these guys are all mostly about 22 years old. To say it’s unbelievable is not an overstatement.

“We just take our hats off to the Cycling Australia High Performance unit. So much goes into this and all cudos to them for achieving this.

“The 5 riders in team who are also in our Pro Racing Sunshine Coast team are now the best in history and they’ve proven that beyond doubt today. This ride has really put those riders and Cycling Australia, plus PRSC and the Sunshine Coast, on the map at the very top of international cycling,” Ben said.

These are the first World Championship wins for the Sunshine Coast based development team.

The same squad were World Champions in the same event in 2017 when they first came to the PRSC team, however chose not to defend their title at last year’s Worlds to instead focus on the Commonwealth Games.

In the team car for the final stage of the Herald Sun Tour

Thursday, 14 February 2019 posted by Sally Prowd

On board with Michael Potter and inside the team car in the final stage of the 2019 Herald Sun Tour, where Alistair Donohoe rode in the break for most of the race, and took the most aggressive jersey for the stage to round out a stellar Sun Tour for the young Melbourne rider. 

 

Herald Sun Tour Arthurs Seat stage

Thursday, 7 February 2019 posted by Sally Prowd

37 degrees celsius, 4 laps of the brutal Arthurs Seat climb and a break away of 5 riders on the road including PRSC's Alistair Donohoe...

See what goes on behind the scenes of a world tour breakaway as Alistair holds off a chase group of 4, including race favorite Richie Porte, to secure a well-earned 4th on Stage 4 of the Herald Sun Tour, in our video with camnicholls.com

Behind the scenes with Cam Nicholls

Friday, 1 February 2019 posted by Sally Prowd

We caught up with Cam Nicholls to talk all things ACA and Pro Racing Sunshine Coast. He joined Ben Kersten for his local Sunshine Coast ride down the coast from Noosa to our team base at the University of the Sunshine Coast high performance precinct.

 

Thanks for the chat Cam! Cam will be joining us for the final two stages of the 2019 Herald Sun Tour so keep a look out for more videos next week. 

Michael Freiberg on the hunt for more glory at Herald Sun Tour

Tuesday, 29 January 2019 posted by Sally Prowd

Fresh off his recent Australian National road race title, Michael Freiberg will be on the hunt for more glory in the Herald Sun Tour in Victoria this week.

The Pro Racing Sunshine Coast rider will headline the team’s squad at the 5-stage tour, the oldest stage race in Australia.

The prestigious race gets underway on Wednesday 30 January with a 98km criterium at Phillip Island.

The Herald Sun Tour is the second biggest stage race in Australia where the best few domestic teams are invited to compete with teams from the European World Tour, including Mitchelton Scott, Trek Segafredo, Sky, and EF Education First.

Freiberg will join the squad for his first race with the team since winning the prestigious National road race title in early January. He will be looking for a result against the best in the world with his sights set on a stage win.

Michael Potter will also line up for PRSC hot off finishing his first Tour Down Under, where he was selected in the Australian national composite team. Potter also placed second in the recent U23 National road race and will be looking to test his legs after a tough month of racing, particularly on the hilly Arthurs Seat stage on Saturday.

Freddy Ovett will also be back looking to make his stamp on the race where he placed 10thoverall in 2018. Alistair Donohoe is also one to watch for PRSC; Donohoe is in strong form and his experience on his home town roads will play to his advantage.

They will be joined by Jono Noble, Ashley Mackay and Taj Jones, the youngest member of the squad who will make his Herald Sun Tour debut.

PRSC managing director, Ben Kersten, said the team is looking forward to the week ahead.

“This is one of our favourite races of the year. We have had a brilliant start to the season and are taking our best performers from the National road titles with us. The boys are firing and we can’t wait to get out there and see what we’ve got,” he said.

“We have a great mix of riders with us here, there’s some of our younger developing riders like Taj who is riding his first JHST and will learn so much from this experience. Right through to Freddy, Potter and Freiberg who will be serious contenders for stage wins, so we have a lot to be excited about this week,” he said.

PRSC Team

  • Michael Freiberg, 28
  • Freddy Ovett, 25
  • Michael Potter, 21
  • Alistair Donohoe, 23
  • Jono Noble, 22
  • Ashley Mackay, 23
  • Taj Jones, 18

The Course

Starting and finishing with criterium-style stages in Phillip Island and Melbourne’s Botanic Gardens, and includes two stages crucial to the general classification battle on days two and four.

The second stage from Wonthaggi to Churchill includes a final, gravel road climb before a steep descent to the finish line. Day four, the Queen stage, returns to the Mornington Peninsula and includes four ascents of the notorious Arthurs Seat, including the final climb to the finish.

Wednesday 30 January – Phillip Island (97.9km) 1:30pm AEDT

Thursday 31 January – Wonthaggi to Churchill (127km) 10:00am AEDT

Friday 1 February – Sale to Warragul (161.6km) 10:00am AEDT

Saturday 2 February – Cape Schanck to Arthurs Seat (112.9km) 12:30pm AEDT

Sunday 3 February – Melbourne Botanic Gardens (89.1km) 1:30pm AEDT

The Competition

It is the strongest field to line up for the JHST in several years. The general classification will be a hotly contested battle, with climbers Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) and Michael Woods (EF Education First) starting as favourites.

Broadcast & Live Stream

The final hour of every stage will be live streamed at heraldsuntour.com.au.

Stages 1, 2 and 3 will be broadcast on SBS On Demand. Stages 4 and 5 (Saturday and Sunday) will be broadcast live on SBS Viceland. Check local programs for updated broadcast times.

PRSC confirmed for new Zwift KISS Super League

Tuesday, 22 January 2019 posted by Sally Prowd

We are excited to announce that Pro Racing Sunshine Coast has been invited as one of fourteen international UCI teams for Zwift’s new KISS Super League.

Zwift was launched in December 2014 and the KISS Super League is a first in the world of cycling eSports as it features a dedicated competition featuring actual professional cycling teams and their riders competing remotely from anywhere in the world.


As opposed to traditional racing events, team members do not need to be in the same location, they simply line up remotely from wherever they are located in the world using their smart trainersto race their bikesin real timewhile other Zwiftusers can log in and follow the action live. The Zwift platform is an interactive virtual reality world, all riders appear as avatars and they can see the other riders around them, creating a reality similar to racing in the real world.

Managing director Ben Kersten said PRSC will contest the 10-race series, against professional teams including Team Dimension Data, Israel Cycling Academy, Cofidis, Team Wiggins, Hagens Berman Axeon and Canyon.

“E-sports are super hot right now, we are really excited to be included in the first ever Zwift Super League, Pro Racing Sunshine Coast is one of only two Australian teams to have been invited into the league which is incredible considering we are only in our second season. To have been selected for the league alongside some of the world’s top teams shows the high level of respect we have achieved in such a short time frame.

“it’s a huge honour, not only for the excitement of being involved in such a progressive and exciting concept but also for the exposure this will give both our team, our sponsors, our riders and the Sunshine Coast region. Amateur cyclists from around the world will be watching and cheering, getting to know our riders, our team and the name Pro Racing Sunshine Coast. It is really huge for us.”

“We have been involved with Zwift for a number of years now in different capacities and we are really excited to grow with them as our team also grows,” Ben added.

The series will launch with a live event in London on January 23, 2019 coinciding with the first race of the series, a 40.2km event.

Each team will be made up of 8 riders, who will be selected prior to each round. For each round of races, four riders from each team will race to score points for their team in the overall standings.

Pro Racing Sunshine Coast will field an all-star team for the first race including Australian national champion Michael Freiberg, World Champion Alistair Donohoe, Freddy Ovett and Jono Noble.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Keep up to date on team news and training events

Ok