This will be VDR’s fourth appearance at the Tour of the Great South Coast. Our first year was a largely forgettable affair, and certainly, there were not any results that still make it into the team Palmares. 2017 saw the team step up, taking out the Young Riders Jersey and 10th overall – a performance we were very excited about. 2018 we took our first NRS stage Victory during an emotional day which saw Jason Thomason outsmart his breakaway companions and outplay the chasing bunch, this year we are back with an even strong team, and ambitions to repeat what we have already achieved, plus more.
The Tour is the longest tour in the NRS in an expanded six-day format, with a total of eight stages. Racing starts in Mount Gambier, making it as close as we’ll get to a home race. We then have stages in Port Macdonald and Naracoorte before moving into South Western Victoria with a punchy stage from Casterton to Heywood, before the final two stages around Cape Bridgewater and finally coming to an end in Portland. The tour has a number of technical criteriums, a TTT, a few punchy bergs and some flat road stages. Like any event in this part of Australia – there will be crosswinds and these are normally the defining feature of the race.
The team features the best of our all rounders and our flat road specialists. Coming into the team after a month of racing U19 crits and kermesses in Belgium is Brunswick young gun Henry Dietze. This will be Dietze’s second outing at NRS for 2019, after taking to the roads around Brisbane in April. We missed out on the result we were hoping for at this race, but Dietze will have plenty of opportunities to find the front of the race with several technical sprints. Dave Randall will be on the start line tasked with delivering Dietze to the finish. Tristan Saunders also makes the line-up, and after getting some strong results on the same roads as part of the Mount Gambier CC’s 100 Mile Weekend – will prove a more than competent foil for Dietze in the sprints.
Iven Bennett makes the team and will be looking to take his favourite place in the peloton (ie on the front) driving into the crosswinds, and will likely share this space with Rylan as they both look to control the pace and to take any opportunities that might arise for a sneaky breakaway. Mark Sampson will make his first NRS appearance for 2019 – looking to learn and to take any opportunity that presents. 2018 Stage winner Thomason continues his run of NRS starts – and will take his strong form and experience to resume his role as road captain, whilst also looking for more personal success.
There will be a heap of opportunities to follow the race – so make sure you keep an eye out across all Social media.