As a by-product of his sensational overall victory at the Tour of Gippsland, InForm MAKE rider Raphael Freienstein has moved into the overall lead of the Cycling Australia National Road Series (NRS). The 27-year-old sealed his first overall NRS victory on the savage slopes of Mt Baw Baw after a dominant display throughout the whole Tour of Gippsland.
Freienstein has enjoyed a fruitful year that has included; second at the Grafton to Inverell epic, second overall at Battle Recharge, a stage win and second overall at the Campolina- Visit Victoria Tour of the Great South Coast, and of course his recent success at the Tour of Gippsland.
With two rounds to go in this year’s NRS, Freienstein leads the series by just five points to Nicholas White (Oliver’s Real Food Racing). The Tour of Tasmania and Giro della Donna are what stands in between the German native and the overall victory, but Freienstein would see winning the series as an added bonus to his already rewarding season.
“It would be nice to win NRS overall, however, it was never a target or goal of mine,” Freienstein said.
“In a way, I have slipped into an overall contender as we lost a few of our other stronger riders at the beginning of the year and I ended up doing all NRS events. To go for the overall win you need to be placed high on GC at almost every tour. InForm MAKE supported me in every tour, and that way, I ended up at the top of the rankings.”
The Tour of Tasmania has always been known as the hardest tour of the season and this year is no different. Included in the tour of the apple isle is a punchy uphill finish at Grindelwald, the infamous Gunn’s Plains stage and a genuine summit finale at Poatina. There is no hiding here, climbing legs are a must.
“Tour of Tassie is really hilly and probably one of the hardest tours in Australia.”
“I haven’t looked at the stage profiles but we will have a strong team lining up and trying to continue where we finished off at Gippsland. It would be great to see someone from InForm MAKE take out a stage win or even the overall tour win.”
Chipping away at time bonuses simply won’t be enough to be donning the leader’s Yellow Jersey in Devonport on November 18, but Freienstein’s punchy kick may prove critical if it comes down to the wire.
However, Freienstein should take confidence out of his performance on Mt Baw Baw, knowing that his climbing legs can stack up with the best series.
For now, Freienstein can be proud of what he and the whole InForm MAKE team have achieved this season and can relish the opportunity to wear the NRS leader’s jersey in Tasmania. But the desire for more success is evident, and a potential post season celebration with the squad is being used as a motivating factor for Freienstein.
“We have a strong team going to Tassie and Giro della Donna so hopefully we can have a big night after the last NRS event on the 25th of November.”
Individual NRS rankings
1st: Raphael Freienstein (InForm MAKE) - 790 points
2nd: Nicholas White (Oliver’s Real Food Racing) - 785 points
3rd: Ayden Toovey (Bennelong Swiss Wellness Cycling Team) - 680 points
Teams NRS rankings
1st: Bennelong Swiss Wellness Cycling Team - 1635 points
2nd: InForm MAKE - 793 points
3rd: Oliver’s Real Food Racing - 654 points