Defending champion Peter McDonald is set to return next week to defend his Trust House Cycle Classic title in Wellington and the Wairarapa.
The Australian will lead the Drapac Porsche UCI Continental team, perhaps the strongest of the seven Australian squads to have entered for the 23rd running of the classic, starting in Upper Hutt next Wednesday. Last year was a particularly good one for McDonald, who started by winning the Australian road championship, and claiming the Trust House event soon after.
He went on to finish second in the Tours of Taiwan and Tasmania, and secured the king of the mountains classification in the Tour of Gironda and Le Ronde de L'Oise in France. Trust House race director Jorge Sandoval regarded McDonald's return as a coup. He was preparing for the classic this week by competing for the Australian national team in the Tour Down Under in South Australia.
McDonald is backed up by a pretty handy group of Joseph Lewis, Lachlan Norris, Michael Phelan and Thomas Palmer. Lewis has won five state titles, and in 2007 was first in an international criterium in The Netherlands. He has lived and raced in Europe since 2007. Norris has a background in mountain biking, which includes having won the 2008 Oceania title, and being 11th at the world championships last year. Phelan was last year's Australian under-19 road champion, and has represented his country, and Palmer is an accomplished performer. He has won three world titles on the track, and was third in the sprint competition in last year's Trust House classic.
"We saw how professional the Drapac Porsche team was at last year's classic," Sandoval said. "They will come to the classis very well prepared, and with a full backup group of masseurs, a mechanic and a coach it shows how serious they are. If this team rides as it should it will a top contender to have one of its members take the overall title back to Australia."
Australia National Team;
Sandoval also announced the participation of the Jayco Skins team (ex Team AIS). Team Jayco Skins is registered as a UCI Continental Team in the Oceania Region and continues the tradition of excellence of Cycling Australia's High Performance Program.
The team integrates the current Cycling Australia / Australian Institute of Sport U23 road development program, with the talent of Australia's track endurance riders.
"The AIS has a proud history of producing talented cyclists who have succeeded at the very top level, five of their riders have won this event in the past with riders such as Robbie McEwen, Corey Sweet, Hayden Bradbury, Matthew Lloyd and most recently Travis Meyer. I don't be surprised if another great Australian cycling talent is discovered here after next week's Trust House Cycle Classic" said Sandoval.
The tour's first stage is from Upper Hutt to Masterton via the Rimutaka Hill on January 27, and after the next three days in the Wairarapa, it finishes with a criterium on the streets of inner-Wellington on the afternoon of January 31.
For more information please contact Jorge Sandoval 0274 464 300.