Off-road cyclists eye gruelling ride

BY COLLEEN SHELDON, VOLUNTEER JOURNALIST

Having a few mountain bikers in the squad may make the difference for an Australian team looking to conquer the Gravel and Tar Classic on 27 January.

Australian Trade team, GPM Stulz, have entered this year’s event after taking a year off to regroup and strategise.

Having competed in the inaugural race in 2016, team director Trent Wilson described the race as tough and is expected to select riders with previous experience in the race and good off-road skills.

“The race in 2016 was tough, but we know what we’re coming to this time and we’ll be more than competitive.  The boys are looking forward to racing and enjoying the fantastic hospitality we received in Palmy when we were there in 2016”, Wilson said.

GPM-Stulz, which has concentrated on developing riders out of Sydney, will bring the likes of mountain biker Cameron Ivory to these shores. Ivory is a Tour of Tassie stage winner, yellow jersey holder and 2018 Commonwealth Games MTB Ambassador.

Tasman Nankervis, an U23 Australian National MTB champion, will also use his skills to the best advantage in the team.

Wilson, or Willo as he is known to the team, started the team in 2009 and after a few name changes has settled on GPM-Stulz. Through a junior development programme in recent years, his riders are successfully making progress. 

Riders such as Harrison Bailey is a 2017 Tour of Tassie stage winner and Josh Corcoran won a silver medal in the NSW U19 Road Race. Former World Duathlon Champion Cameron Roberts will bring strength to the team.

The final five-man squad is still to be named from his 12-man team and there are no doubts riders with grit and resilience for the tough 132km circuit will be at the top of the pecking order.

Steve Stannard