With the world cycling’s spotlight to be on Australia for the start of 2017, a crop of Australia’s future WorldTour stars is set to shine with Cycling Australia confirming pre-selections for the Australian National Teams.
The teams form part of Cycling Australia’s ongoing Pathway Development and provide riders not currently in a World Tour outfit, the opportunity to ride alongside the world’s best in Australia’s three UCI races in January and February.
2016 Jayco World Tour Academy members Lucas Hamilton (VIC), Jai Hindley (WA), Michael Storer (WA) and Callum Scotson (SA) have been pre-selected for the Santos Tour Down Under where they will ride under the Team UniSA-Australia banner.
The quartet will also contest the Jayco Herald Sun Tour, while Hamilton, Hindley and Storer will line up at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, and RACE MELBOURNE as the KordaMentha National Team.
The remaining positions for the final seven-rider rosters will finalised in mid-January after considerations are made on performances at the MARS Road National Championships.
Hamilton will make his Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race debut having finished inside the top 50, just five minutes off the pace, on his Tour Down Under debut last January while still a teenager. In an unfortunate result just weeks later however, Hamilton crashed out of his Jayco Herald Sun Tour debut.
“It’s an amazing feeling to be chosen in such a quality team to race the world’s best on home soil,” said Hamilton. “It’s a great opportunity for us to showcase ourselves against the world tour but also to learn and gain experience from the best cyclists in the world and have them in Australia racing is an even bigger bonus.”
In 2016, Hamilton became the first Australian to win an individual classification at the Tour de l’Avenir in 2016, with victory in the mountains classification.
“2016 was my first year over in Europe racing for a full season, and I’m really happy with my results but there is always room for improvement,” added Hamilton, who also claimed the under 23 national championship road race silver medal last January.
“I look forward to 2017 and hopefully pushing for some more results and I’m really looking to taking this fantastic opportunity to learn from professionals as much as possible with both hands.
“However, I will set some high expectations of myself to achieve some results.
“I would like to be able to work towards some personal results, while gaining valuable experience at the same time – it’s not very often you get the chance to race at the best in the world! “
West Australian duo Hindley and Storer who claimed top 10 finishes at the Tour de l’Avenir helping Australia take the team classification for the first time, add further climbing depth to the team.
Team pursuit world champion and Rio Olympic silver medallist Scotson will continue his development on the road, adding track speed and strength against the clock as the reigning under 23 time trial champion.
“For many years, the Australian National Team has been providing a superb pathway for our developing road talent to gain valuable exposure and promotion to the WorldTour teams,” said Cycling Australia CEO Nicholas Green OAM.
“These events provide a tremendous opportunity for our next generation of stars to get a taste of racing at the highest level, against some of the very best in Australia and the world, and do so on home soil.
“As the eyes of the world will be on Australia for the start of 2017 with three world-class events, our young guns are set to energise the peloton, and we are certain they will take this opportunity with both hands and give it their all.”