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Jarrad jostles for Great South Coast Tour Jewels

21 August 2019 (amended: 21 August 2019)

South Australian Jarrad Drizners is spending almost as much time on jets as he is on his bike, but he is looking forward to a return to the Visit Victoria-Campolina Tour of the Great South Coast to continue his push towards a spot among the elite of Australian cycling.

South Australian Jarrad Drizners is spending almost as much time on jets as he is on his bike, but he is looking forward to a return to the Visit Victoria-Campolina Tour of the Great South Coast to continue his push towards a spot among the elite of Australian cycling.

Adelaide-based Drizners, 20, is improving in a rush. Already this year he has won the Australian Under-23 criterium championship (defeating world teams pursuit stars Kelland O’Brien and Cameron Scott); been a member of the bronze medal-winning Australian team pursuit line-up at the Hong Kong World Cup; won a Brisbane criterium and finished runner-up to the exceptional Sam Welsford at the Casterton Classic; and won a race, finished second four times and third twice during a four-week, 14-race venture to Belgium.

He kicked off 2019 with victory in a 2000m handicap, off 70 metres, at the Tasmanian Christmas Sports Carnivals. It is all a learning curve, coming on top of an outstanding initial effort at last year’s Great South Coast Tour when he wore the CFMEU young rider’s jersey for the first two stages before being pipped for the title by Cam Scott.

To be competing against and having his name alongside the ilk of Welsford, O’Brien and Scott is a fair indication of the potential of the emerging Drizners.

“They are some of the very best, the elite,” he  said. “Sam has won an individual scratch race gold medal at the world championships as well as being a member of the gold medal pursuit team, and you can add Alex Porter and O’Brien in that team. They won the gold at last year’s Commonwealth Games and then lowered their record time to an astonishing 3mins 48sec to win the world championship in Poland.

“They will be at this tour and that is really exciting. The best way to improve is to compete against the best like them, to challenge yourself and push it to the limit. Knowing no South Australian has ever won the Tour of the Great South Coast is extra motivation for me.”

Drizners described the Great South Coast tour as “a great event.”

“It provides excellent variety,” he said. “There are crits and climbs and the new teams time trial at Naracoorte. You are challenged every one of the six days of this event, which is a great pathway to the track events coming up. It is recognised as one of the great strength-building events that prepares you for the rest of the season.

“When you look ahead, there are the Oceania Championships, the World Cup in New Zealand later this year, and, of course, the Tokyo Olympics next year. This tour is one of the important steps along the way if you are serious about those major international events,” he said.

Drizners hopes to improve on last year’s fourth placing at the opening race of the 541-kilometre, eight-stage tour when riders take-off in the traditional criterium at Mount Gambier’s Vansittart Park at 10.45 a.m. on Tuesday, August 27.

While Drizners acknowledges the might of the Australian Cycling Academy team, which contains the likes of Welsford, O’Brien and Porter, he is delighted with the composition of his young InForm team, which includes three of his recent World Cup bronze medal team-mates, Godfrey Slattery, Conor Leahy and Luke Plapp.

“We are in form and a happy and confident group. You never know what can happen,” he mused.

Drizners will be more than happy if inclement weather further tests the riders on the hills around Casterton in Stage 6 or the open windswept flats at Port MacDonnell on Wednesday, August 28.

“I like windy weather. It offers more of a challenge, if there are not enough of them already!”

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.

Entries close with Cycling Victoria on August 17

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