|2 August 2019
World record breakers to ignite Great South Coast Tour
Australia’s world record-breaking teams pursuit track cycling squad will use the upcoming Visit Victoria-Campolina Tour of the Great South Coast as a key strength-building event in its preparations for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
The five-member contingent of West Australian Sam Welsford, Victorians Leigh Howard and Kelland O’Brien, Adelaide’s Alex Porter and the Sydney-based Cameron Scott will give the six-day tour a massive boost of class and international prestige.
Under the coaching guidance of 2007 Melbourne to Warrnambool Classic winner Tim Decker, the four-man line-up of Welsford, Porter, Howard and O’Brien won gold and smashed the world record in the teams pursuit final at last year’s Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
In clocking 3 minutes 49.804 seconds, the quartet thrashed arch rivals Great Britain and became the first pursuit team to crash through the 3mins 50secs barrier for the 4000-metre distance.
The team’s spectacular status as the kings of global track cycling was further enhanced at the world championships in Poland in February when they won the teams pursuit title and lowered their world record mark to a stunning 3mins 48.012secs.
The brutally-powerful Welsford, who answers to a variety of nicknames including “The Animal,” climbed a step higher by winning the scratch race gold medal – only an hour after his teams pursuit conquest.
Scott, who rode in the qualifying rounds in Brisbane and Poland but was an onlooker for both finals, may get his chance for personal glory in the six-day Great South Tour which starts with a traditional criterium at Mount Gambier’s Vansittart Park on Tuesday, August 27, and ends with another crit on Portland’s expansive waterfront on Sunday, September 1.
A quiet achiever, Scott is an accomplished road rider, winning the three-race Criterium Cup at the Tasmanian Christmas Carnivals for the past two years. The squad will race under the Australian Cycling Academy banner.
Decker and his riders are currently overseas but will return to Australia early in August. The South Australian-based coach has singled out the 541-kilometre eight-stage Great South Coast tour because of its variety of terrain and the addition of a ground-breaking teams time trial at Naracoorte on Thursday, August 29. (Full course outline attached).
The 16.4km time trial, from Naracoorte Showgrounds to the world heritage-listed Naracoorte Caves, will see teams take off at two-minute intervals in a contest billed as “the race of truth.” Decker is hopeful that his squad can annexe a clear-cut victory on the vineyard-dotted course.
“The Great South Coast tour is a tremendous race because there’s something in the course for everybody,” Decker said. “It’s an important build-up event for us, with the Tokyo Olympics looming.
“You’ve got to be a good bike rider to win this race – there’s nowhere to hide, whether it be in the hills around Casterton, the open windswept flats at Port MacDonnell or the three crits.”
Founded in 2012, the eighth Tour of the Great South Coast is backed by the Victorian State Government and four municipalities – the City of Mount Gambier, District Council of Grant and Naracoorte Lucindale Council in South Australia, and Victoria’s Glenelg Shire Council. (Sponsor list attached).
Entries close with Cycling Victoria on August 17.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Kipp Kaufmann John Craven Craig Eastwood
Cycling Australia Caribou Publications Cycling Victoria
0430-303577 0408-558469 0428-317460