Up Next: Oita Classic, Japan

Friday, 12 October 2018 posted by Sally Prowd

We are off and racing in our next block of Asian races this weekend, beginning with the Oita Cycle Classic in Japan tomorrow.

The two-day race begins with a criterium on Saturday 13th of October, followed by a road race on Sunday the 14th.

Oita will be followed by the two-day Japan Cup on the 20th and 21st of October.

We are fielding a strong 5-man team for both races, with Sam Welsford an excellent chance coming off very impressive form in this week's Oceania track titles.

Also lining up for ACA in Japan are Michael Potter, Toby Orchard, Jono Nobles and Ashley Mackay.

Follow us on Instagram for updates and results.

Live streaming for the Japan Cup will be available here.

Announcing our new Live Learn Ride Student athlete program

Thursday, 11 October 2018 posted by Sally Prowd

Want to become a part of the Australian Cycling Academy? The ACA is expanding in 2019, to include a new development team for student athletes from Australia and around the world.

The ACA’s specialised High-Performance Student Athlete Program is a tailored, for-fee development program providing a platform for domestic and international young female and male cyclists to further their cycling careers whilst living and studying on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia.

As part of this new program, a new team, the Live, Learn, Ride NRS Team, will comprise athletes who have applied and been accepted in to our program to live on the Sunshine Coast, learn and the University of the Sunshine Coast, and ride the National Road Series. The LLR HP program riders will race a different schedule than our existing UCI Conti Pro Sunshine Coast team.

This exciting new initiative provides talented young cyclists access to a fully comprehensive cycling development plan. This customised plan is developed and supported by our world class coaches with access to the internationally respected University of the Sunshine Coast High Performance Sport Unit who support our athletes with specialist coaches, sports medicines expertise and access to outstanding training facilities all located within an idyllic climate for high performance athlete development.

Most importantly, our philosophy is underpinned by our academy philosophy of "Live, Learn, Ride". Our students receive a guaranteed offer of a study placement at the University of the Sunshine Coast with specialist support to assist students to find the right choice of course and delivery mode to support their holistic development needs.

Academy students will live and train with our UCI Continental Pro Team riders and benefit from racing exposure through Cycling Australia’s elite National Road Series. Selected athletes may have access to international race competition through our UCI Pro Team subject to individual rider performance.

This paid program is available to approved applicants only and places are very limited.

The Live Learn Ride High Performance Program is now open for applications. Visit aca-cycling.cc/livelearnride for details.



Friday, 17 August 2018 posted by Sally Prowd

ACA - Ride Sunshine Coast cyclist, Sam Welsford, has taken out the third stage of the Campolina Visit Victoria Tour of the Great South Coast on Thursday.

The Sunshine Coast rider, 22, dominated the final sprint to win comfortably from his rivals in the 128.5km stage, the latest in the Australian National Road Series.

Welsford, an eight-time world champion and dual Gold Coast Commonwealth Games gold medalist, is racing his first road race back with ACA since the Games in April.

The stage, a gruelling five laps (each 26-kilometres), kicked off with the strong teams putting pressure on the field early to split the race into a number of different bunches. At the 50-kilometre mark, a 25-rider breakaway pushed hard to get away to form a bunch, which included Welsford and his ACA teammates.

Welsford sat in the lead break before unleashing his powerful sprint in the final metres to defy his rivals in to the finish in Portland, VIC.

“I kicked early in the sprint and held on,” Welsford said.

“It was a really hard day because of the difficulty of the course and constantly changing cross-winds, so to counter all that and still have good legs at the end was really pleasing,” he said.

Welsford is part of a five-man squad at the Tour of the Great South Coast, with his fellow Commonwealth Games team pursuit gold medallist, Kelland O’Brien also in the team. They are joined by Cameron Scott, Ashley Mackay and Toby Orchard.

Team Director, Ben Kersten, said they have been pleasantly surprised by Welsford’s form, given he hadn’t raced since the Commonwealth Games.

“Sam took a really well-deserved break after the Games, and this is his first big hit out since April,” Kersten said.

“Sometimes after a break it takes a little while to come into your form and get your legs back. But Sam is such a huge talent and absolute star of the future, so really we shouldn’t be surprised. He has come back in excellent form, which is fantastic for him and the team,” he said.

NRS Tour of the Great South Coast starts tomorrow

Tuesday, 14 August 2018 posted by Sally Prowd

The Tour of the Great South Coast begins tomorrow, the next event in the 2018 Australian National Road Series (NRS).

The Tour of the Great South Coast is a five-day, seven-stage tour that will cover 491.8 kilometres of stunning terrain across Victoria and South Australia.

The tour begins on Wednesday 15th August with a 36km criterium around the streets of Mt Gambier, SA, at 10.45am. This is followed by a second stage tomorrow afternoon, a 65km road race again through Mt Gambier.

The tour concludes on Sunday 19th August with a 48km criterium around Portland, Victoria.

ACA will field a six man squad, with several of our biggest names hitting the start line. The line up includes Cameron Scott, Sam Welsford, Kell O'Brien, Toby Orchard, Ashley Mackay and Elliot Schultz.

All eyes will be on Cam Scott, who is in top form coming off his recent win in the Tour of Qinghai Lake, China, just two weeks ago.

It is also the first NRS race back for Sam Welsford following his stunning Commonwealth Games campaign in April.

For race updates, follow ACA on Instagram and Twitter.

Live race results will also be available here.

Freddy Ovett to join BMC Racing Team as stagiaire

Thursday, 2 August 2018 posted by Sally Prowd

ACA-Ride Sunshine Coast cyclist, Freddy Ovett, will join BMC Racing Team as a stagiaire for the remainder of the 2018 season.

The stagiaire offer is an opportunity of a lifetime for Ovett and comes off the back of a huge season with ACA, including a top 10 placing at the recent Tour of Qinghai Lake, China.

The son of Olympic 800-metre Gold medalist, Steve Ovett, Freddy was himself a long-distance runner on scholarship at Oregon State University, before making the transition to road cycling due to an injury four years ago. Ovett is based on the Sunshine Coast and attends the University of the Sunshine Coast.

Ovett, 24, will gain invaluable experience at the WorldTour level, BMC Racing Team General Manager Jim Ochowicz said.

“We are pleased to welcome Freddy Ovett as stagiaire this year. The stagiaires will have a diverse race program with us and will be able to learn from some of the most experienced riders in the peloton, starting with the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah this month,” Ochowicz said.

“Freddy impressed this year at the Herald Sun Tour so we are excited to see what he can do in the upcoming races. We obviously have a strong connection to Australian riders so it is good to welcome some young talent to BMC Racing Team to race alongside some of Australia’s most well known riders; Rohan Dennis, Simon Gerrans, Richie Porte, and Miles Scotson.”

ACA Director, Ben Kersten, said creating opportunities like this one for Ovett are exactly what the academy is all about.

“Our goal is to give young riders opportunities through racing to be noticed by the best teams in the world, and that’s exactly what’s happened with Freddy and BMC,” he said.

“At the start of 2018, Freddy was left without a team and we signed him up. He raced the Herald Sun Tour with us in February, where he placed 10thoverall, racing against some of the world’s best professional teams, which really got him noticed on the big stage.”

“We couldn’t be happier for Freddy to have this opportunity. His hard work and perseverance have got him to this point, and we have no doubt he has what it takes to make that next step with BMC,” Kersten said.

For Ovett, joining BMC is nothing short of a dream come true.

“Joining BMC Racing Team for the last half of the year is quite simply a dream come true. It’s a team I’ve been very fond of since I started cycling and I’m very humbled to be given this opportunity by the team,” he said.

“It’s exciting to be a part of one of cycling’s biggest professional teams and I’m looking to learning as much as possible within this time period,” Ovett said.

The Australian Cycling Academy is a UCI registered under-23 cycling development team designed to deliver a pathway for young cyclists into the professional ranks. The Academy is based at the University of the Sunshine Coast and supported by principle partner the Sunshine Coast Council.


Cam Scott takes huge win in China at the Tour of Qinghai Lake

Friday, 27 July 2018 posted by Sally Prowd

Cameron Scott has taken the biggest road win of his young career winning stage 5 of the notoriously difficult UCI Tour of Qinghai Lake last night.

The 20-year old rider was impressive all day, taking the sprint finish at the end of an epic 235km stage at an altitude of over 3000m.

“At about 10km to go the bunch split,” Scott explained.

“I made the front and had a couple of teammates up there. It was pretty messy in the final, but we stayed out of trouble.”

While the finish was challenging, the 20-year-old Olympic hopeful admitted the entire race was formidable with a hors catégorie climb straight out of the launch in Longyangxia.

“The start was pretty tough as well. I managed to not waste too much energy and get up in the front bunch, but the length definitely plays in different parts of the race,” said Scott.

“Very happy,” he added. “It’s my first big tour stage win, so can’t ask for much more than that.”

Australian Cycling Academy’s sports director Stu Shaw claimed Scott was biding his time over the race’s initial mountain stages for the appropriate time to strike.

“We’re really excited. We know Cam Scott is a huge talent, and we really believed in him and backed him today. He took it easy the last two days in the hills, and we know he’s a serious talent and has really flown under the radar,” Shaw said.

“For such a young rider this goes a long way. A huge win.”

According to Shaw, the role of fellow Australian track star and former WorldTour rider Leigh Howard is invaluable in Scott’s development.

“Having Leigh Howard there, who is like a brother to Cam, you haven’t got anyone better to guide him through,” explained Shaw.

“Cam’s on the track program, but we know he can seriously climb, he can do it all. He can climb, he can time trial, he’s one of the best pursuiters in the world as well.”

The Tour of Qinghai Lake is a 13 stage 2.HC UCI tour around the Qinghai region of China, on the Chinese Tibetan Plateau. It comprises 1841km of racing at an average altitude of 3000m, peaking at 4120m.

It’s the biggest test so far for the young ACA development team, with the UCI race renowned as one of the toughest in the world.

Twenty two Pro Continental and Continental teams, including outfits from Europe and Asia, are competing in the tour.

The ACA have taken a 7-man team to the race, with Scott and Howard being joined by Freddy Ovett, Michael Potter, Toby Orchard, Ashley Mackay and Jono Noble.

The race continues with a final mountain stage today, before the 13thand final stage in Lanzhou on Saturday 4 August 2018.

The Australian Cycling Academy is a UCI registered under-23 cycling development team based at the University of the Sunshine Coast and supported by principle partner the Sunshine Coast Council.

Our toughest race of the year is here - the Tour of Qinghai Lake, China

Monday, 23 July 2018 posted by Sally Prowd

Our toughest race of the year in now underway, with the first stage of the thirteen day Tour of Qinghai Lake beginning yesterday.


It’s the biggest test so far for the young ACA team, with the UCI race renowned as one of the toughest in the world.


Known as the jewel of the Asian cycling tour around the Qinghai region on the Chinese Tibetan Plateau, the event comprises 13 stages and 1841km of racing and an average altitude of 3000m, peaking at 4120m.

“It’s our biggest event of the year in terms of difficulty and length - it’s known as the fourth grand tour,” said ACA co-founder Ben Kersten.

ACA is fielding a seven-man team for the event, with Leigh Howard, Freddy Ovett, Cameron Scott, Michael Potter, Jono Noble, Toby Orchard and Ashleigh Mackay all making the team.

The riders have been in preparations for weeks, with the goal of readying their bodies for the extreme stress such altitudes produce.

Potter, Scott and Ashley Mackay have been supplementing their road training with the altitude acclimation in Australia to help avoid the serious fatigue and racing heart rate that can end a stage prematurely.

“We arrived in China a week before the start of the race to stabilize,” Kersten said.

“Before leaving for China, the guys who were in Australia were sleeping in altitude tents, or using hypoxic masks or training chambers.”

The team's two top hopes for success across the 12-stage event are Freddy Ovett and Leigh Howard, a multiple world record holder and Olympic and recent Commonwealth gold medalist.

Both riders, who have bases in Europe, have been training in the Pyrenees mountains in Andorra in the lead up to the race, to adjust to the lung-sapping conditions expected in China.

Howard, who has ridden five grand tours including the Tour de France, will lead the team during the grueling event.

“With the team we have we’ll be super happy with a stage podium from Leigh or Freddy, but we also wouldn’t be surprised to see results from Potter and Cam Scott,” Kersten said.

“The rest of the squad will be doing a lot of learning and focusing on supporting our team leaders and surviving through the end of the race.”

The young team will rely heavily on the experience of veteran Howard, who has eight professional victories and has ridden for World Tour teams Orica Greened, IAM Cycling and HTC Columbia.

Twenty two Pro Continental and Continental teams, including outfits from Europe and Asia, will compete in the event.

Stage two of the UCI 2.HC road race gets underway today, and includes eight laps of the 14.4km Xining City Circuit.

Live streaming for the event runs through till the conclusion of the race on Saturday 28th July 2018. Follow this link to watch it live.


Round one of NRS kicks off tomorrow with the Grafton to Inverell Classic

Friday, 11 May 2018 posted by Sally Prowd

The 2018 Cycling Australia National Road Series (NRS) gets underway tomorrow with the country’s toughest one-day race, the David Reid Homes Grafton to Inverell (G2I) Cycling Classic.

The 58th edition of the Classic will take place on Saturday 12 May and will guide the men’s peloton through a 228-kilometre trek across Northern New South Wales, highlighted by 3383 metres of punishing climbing.

We have a five riders taking to the startline for the race, our first since the Commonwealth Games last month, with Michael Potter, Cameron Scott, Aidan Kampers, Ashley Mackay and Amarni Drake all lining up.

Potter and Scott are ones to watch, with both in strong form and coming off recent wins. Potter took out the overall classification in the Tour de Tochigi in Japan in April, along with the NSW Hillclimb Championship this month, while Scott, the current National U23 Criterium Champion, won the Bathurst Classic Criterium last weekend.

The race will be streamed live via the National Road SeriesFacebook & Cycling Australia YouTube channels,the coverage will begin with the official G2I pre-race show from 7 to 730am and feature rider interviews and the race start in Grafton.

The live stream will then pick up for the final hour of the race (estimated from midday onwards) and capture the exciting run to the finish into Inverell (coverage to resume as the peloton hits the Griffin/Grindal Hill).

The post race-show will feature race highlights, race wrap up, rider interviews and the official presentations, with an extensive highlights package loaded to the NRS channels later in the day.

You can also follow live updates via our Twitter and Instagram pages, or the official race channels below:

Follow the #G2I18 / #NRS18 - @Twitter, Facebook & Instagram

Welsford Sets Sights on Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Thursday, 12 April 2018 posted by Sally Prowd

Newly-crowned Commonwealth Games scratch racing gold medallist Sam Welsford has his sights on Tokyo 2020 and says he'd relish the opportunity to compete in the madison in its return to the Olympics.

The 22-year-old enjoyed a stunning campaign at the Gold Coast.

He was part of Australia's world-record breaking team pursuit squad on Thursday, before producing a blistering ride in the 15km race on Saturday.

Welsford, a member of the Australian Cycling Academy - Ride Sunshine Coast team, flashed home to finish ahead of New Zealand's Campbell Stewart and England's Chris Latham.

It had appeared as though Englishman Ethan Hayter had stolen a race-winning gap on the bunch but he was mowed down in the final lap.

"I just put my head down. I knew I had to work pretty hard about two laps out to try and get that guy back for the finish and lucky enough I got him in the last half lap,” Welsford said.

Australia's Cameron Meyer and ACA-Ride Sunshine Coast's Leigh Howard helped make it an up-tempo race for Welsford to capitalise on.

He's aiming for big things at the Olympics.

"Tokyo's the end goal and I really want to hope to get there and try and go one better from Rio,” he said.

He was part of Australia's silver-medal winning team pursuit squad there.

"To come second by 0.6 of a second is pretty heartbreaking but it's also really motivating for myself and all the guys want it just as bad so each training session from Rio has been all about moving forward and trying to get close to that gold medal at the Olympics,” he said.

But that's not the only event on his radar in Japan.

"I've had a bit of an omnium focus for a bit throughout my racing but who knows?” he said.

"It would be awesome to do the madison at the Olympics...

"But the team pursuit will be our (main) focus and the bunch racing will be our second focus.”

The madison, a relay event for two riders per team, has not featured at an Olympics since Beijing in 2008.

Meyer and Callum Scotson were Australia's representatives in the madison at the world championships last year, bagging silver.

Welsford combined with Jordan Kerby to claim second place at the national championships last year, behind Rohan Wight and Alex Porter.


Story via Steele Taylor - Sunshine Coast Daily

Four Gold Medals and One World Record for ACA Riders at Commonwealth Games

Wednesday, 11 April 2018 posted by Sally Prowd

ACA-Ride Sunshine Coast riders have finished a highly successful Commonwealth Games campaign, with two gold medal wins and a new world record among the best results.

The Games started with a bang for the team, when all three ACA-Ride Sunshine Coast riders were selected to ride the final of the team pursuit on the opening night. Sam Welsford, Leigh Howard and Kelland O’Brien lined up with fellow Australian team member Alex Porter to take the gold medal and set a new world record of 3:49.804.

It was the first time a team pursuit has gone under the 3 minute 50 barrier in the event, and the first time an Australian pursuit team has held the world record since 2004.

Sam Welsford followed up the disappointment of narrowly missing the individual pursuit medal rounds with a dramatic win in the 15km scratch race, with ACA team mate Leigh Howard and Australian teammate Cam Meyer displaying an impressive team performance to help Welsford to the win. Welsford came from behind on the final lap of the event to overtake English rider Ethan Heyter who led by more than half a lap, in one of the most thrilling race finishes seen at the Games.

After the scratch race, Welsford was elated with the win and the team’s performance at the Games.

“I’m over the moon, my second gold medal and this race is such a lottery, 60 laps and I was lucky enough to catch him on the last lap,” said Welsford.

Mayor Mark Jamieson congratulated the ACA-Ride Sunshine Coast cyclists on their tremendous performance on the track at the Anna Meares Velodrome.

“From night one, we have seen the members of our newest sporting team achieving at a very high level which continues on the excellent performances ACA-Ride Sunshine Coast has achieved since it was formed just a few months ago.”

“The team is off to a fantastic start,” Jamieson said.

“The Sunshine Coast is proud to have such great ambassadors for our region and the sport of cycling and we look forward to watching them progress throughout 2018.”

University of the Sunshine Coast Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Hill also congratulated the ACA riders on their impressive performance at the Games.

Professor Hill said it was gratifying to see how well ACA riders have competed since the academy was established at USC’s sporting precinct late last year, and he wished them further success into the future.


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