Reflecting on the Tour of the Great South Coast
By Matt de Vroet
It’s now been a week since the Tour of the Great South Coast finished, and we’ve had time to reflect on all that we achieved during the week and go through both the highs and lows of our first National Road Series event of the year.
Being by far the youngest team at the tour, 5 out of our 6 riders were eligible for the CFMEU Rising Star award for the highest placed under 21 rider on general classification; we set ourselves the lofty goal of winning the jersey. The general classification was likely to be decided on time bonuses with an incredible 68 sprints/king of the mountains resulting in almost 4 minutes up for grabs. This not only resulted in some hectic chases and sprints but also headaches for team managers and event organisers themselves trying to figure out who exactly was where on general classification.
As you are well and truly aware now, we achieved this goal through Callum Pearce who never fell lower than 3rd in the young rider standings. Starting strong by taking out third in the second sprint of the race, Callum had a nervous few days sitting in second overall right up until the last stage criterium.
Callum managed to overhaul the slender advantage held by Ethan Berands (Mobius) heading into the final stage to take out the award to deliver the teams first NRS jersey. Capping off an impressive week, Callum snuck into the top 10 overall finishing a highly credible 9th on general classification.
With an average age of 19 years across the team, Liam Lawlor was the youngest representative from the team and eager to impress on his NRS debut.
“It was very tough and competitive racing. Five days of racing was something I had never done before, and I was quite nervous before the start to see how I’d go. It was great to race as a team and execute our goal of Callum taking the U/21 Jersey” Liam said of the experience.
A key role for the successful week was the elder statesmen of the team (at 23 years old) Jason Thomason who led the team as road captain. “It was great to see all the younger boys listen to the advice throughout the week and build on their individual and team performances each day. The contrast between the first and last road stages was huge on how everyone rode together on the road.”
However, while there was a lot of highs, there were some lows with Tom and myself, who recently returned from a stint of overseas racing, coming down with sickness and injury and therefore not able to ride at full capacity.
“I think I can speak for all of the crew coming back from Belgium and say it was a bumpy transition. Most of us ended up sick or injured in one way or another. The biggest differences between NRS and overseas was the style of racing and the weather. Dropping back into NRS is a tactical and tricky game, unlike the blind stem chewing sufferest we had in Belgian racing.” Tom said of the week.
Tom still played a vital row in the team’s success and had been particularly pivotal in Callum making the front group split on the infamous crosswind plagued stage 3.
All in all, it was a highly successful week for the team as we set out and achieved the goals we had set ourselves. We grew together as a team and learned some valuable lessons and can’t wait for Tour of King Valley in a couple of weeks.
“Being one of the youngest teams there it was a great effort by the team and fitting to win the U/21 jersey. After some success at the VRS this year it was great to make the step up and achieve these results at the NRS and I have to credit a lot of it to the boys for the way they rode all week”- Callum Pearce.