After a huge month in Belgium, the boys are ready to sink their teeth into the tour component of the 2019 National Road Series tomorrow at the Tour of the Tropics.
Having arrived home from the warmth of Belgian summer last week, the team is now up north and ready for more racing in warm conditions in far north Queensland.
Five stages will be tackled over three days by a strong InForm outfit that DS Pat Lane is confident are ready for the challenge.
“Belgium provides a racing experience like nowhere else in the world, it’s the only country you can come to and have multiple high-level races on any day. This allows us to create an intense month-long block for the riders to maximise their time in Europe.,” Lane says.
“After what I saw the boys achieve over there, I know they’re going into the Tour of the Tropics well prepared.”
The Challenge Ahead: National Road Series have broken down the Tour, stage-by-stage, here
The Tour of the Tropics will make its Cycling Australia National Road Series (NRS) debut when it opens the Tours season for 2019.
Tour of the Tropics will be set amongst the Atherton Tablelands over three consecutive days from Friday 2 to Sunday 4 August 2019.
The Tour commences with a kermesse race in Millaa Millaa and moves onto Lake Eacham on Day 2 followed by Yungaburra for Day 3.
Stage 1 - Milaa Milaa Kermesse
Racing will begin almost straight from the drop of the flag with a proper warm-up a definite prerequisite. The first of two KOMs greets the riders in the first 5kms. Gentle Annie, as is known to the locals, is a 2km climb at 9% taking riders to 1100m (300m) before descending towards Ravenshoe.
This is sure to split the field over the top; however, the road leading to Ravenshoe will limit the ability for the break to consolidate.
A technical 23km section of road, once the major arterial road, may favour the brave. Aggressive riding will likely place pressure at the back of the field once again as they pass through tropical rainforest and pastoral land before entering the Waterfalls loop for the first of 4 – 16km laps.
Theresa Creek Road then leads the riders to three of the major waterfalls of the region, on the way collecting 350m of elevation per lap. The first lap will be a case of becoming familiar with what lay ahead.
It is likely that the winning move will play out on the back half of the closing laps, with a long gradual rise to the finish sure to test after 114km and a total of 2350m of climbing.
Stage 2 - Lake Eacham Road Race
After the Day 1 start, the NRS field will consider the beginning of this course rather sedate. Some beautiful country back roads will take them to the township of Malanda, with the racing likely to be full throttle as they exit. The exit out of Malanda is a constant uphill grade, before turning onto Hillcrest Road, taking the school bus route back towards Lake Eacham.
If you have your wits about you, you’ll be taking notes of the course as this will also be the battlefield for the individual time trial of Stage 3.
Stage 4 - Yungaburra Road Race
The Historic town of Yungabuura has been a long-time host to cycling in the region, with the community rallying behind the event each and every year. Five laps of this varied 19km circuit will ensure unpredictable, aggressive racing at every turn.
Stage 5 - Yungburra Criterium
Distance: 60 minutes + 3 laps
Yungaburra town centre will be the final showdown of the weekend’s festivities. If a clear leader has not been resolved, this technical course will once again provide another platform for aggressive racing. The course begins with a slight climb to a roundabout, before descending down the backside of the course to a hairpin at the foot of the Yungaburra Hotel before commencing up towards the Start/Finish.