Junior world champions boost 2015 ORICA-AIS roster

Wed 3 Dec 2014

Two of Australia’s most promising female cycling talents will join ORICA-AIS for part of the 2015 season for an invaluable development opportunity.

Triple junior world champion Macey Stewart and dual junior world champion Alexandra Manly, will join ORICA-AIS after considerable joint planning with the Australian National Track Cycling Team.

The pair will share their seasons between the two programs in what ORICA-AIS sport director Gene Bates recognises as a great opportunity to build a solid foundation for their future track and road careers.

“It was felt, as young developing riders with the national track program, that both Alex and Macey would benefit greatly from a measured exposure to road racing and that ORICA-AIS provides the ideal environment to learn the ropes of road racing,” Bates said.

“Obviously we were very keen to offer this assistance as we believe both riders to be very capable roadies in the future and realise that this will enhance their abilities on the track and their prospects of contributing to a medal performance for Australia in Rio.”

Tasmanian Stewart, who won gold in the under 19 time trial at the 2014 road world championships, will debut for the team this weekend at her home criterium, the Stan Siejka Launceston Cycling Classic.

“I am really exciting to pull on the ORICA-AIS kit in front of all my family and friends at home,” Stewart said. “It’s awesome that the race is in Tassie and I am so excited to get out there and give as much as I can.”

“I am sure I will be playing a team role and hopefully I can do as much as I can. I have just had a pretty hard training block and haven’t raced in a few months so will be interesting to see how I am going and give it a real red hot crack.”

Looking ahead, the 18-year-old is looking forward to the opportunity the next twelve months provides to develop into an all-round cyclist.

“I have a really exciting year ahead,” Stewart said.  “I will be pretty busy on the road and the track but it will be good to mix things up a bit and keep it exciting.

“Going over to Europe I am just trying to learn as much as I can. I know I am only I the early stages of my career at the moment and I am going over there so young, so I am happy just to go over there and learn as much as I can from the girls with a bit more experience than me.” 

Manly, who won gold in the individual and team pursuits at the junior track world championships this year, will embark on a similar approach with the team but will debut in Europe.

The inclusion of Stewart and Manly completes the 2015 ORICA-AIS roster, the pair joining ten full-time riders for the team’s fourth season.

The full roster includes existing riders Gracie Elvin (26, ACT, AUS), Katrin Garfoot (33, QLD, AUS), Loes Gunnewijk (34, NED), Melissa Hoskins (23, WA, AUS), Emma Johansson (31, SWE), Valentina Scandolara (24, ITA) and Amanda Spratt (27, NSW, AUS) and 2015 additions Chloe McConville (27, VIC, AUS), Sarah Roy (28, NSW, AUS), Lizzie Williams (31, VIC, AUS), Manly (18, SA, AUS) and Stewart (18, TAS, AUS).  

Confident with the 2015 squad, including the multiple new signings, and off the back of the team’s first training camp for the season in Nagambie and Bright, Bates said the team will approach the season in a targeted manner.

“We were happy with our 2014 season, but we know that we have even more to give next year and will be working extremely hard to show this on the road,” Bates said.

“Going into the 2015 season we have a very specific plan for the team, but also for each of the riders and it will be a real focus for the girls to prepare specifically for their identified targets.

“We are looking forward to this season, which in a way kicks off this weekend at the Tasmanian criterium and really starts to heat up with a busy summer from January 2 at the Bay Cycling Classic in Geelong.”

- ENDS -

ORICA-AIS  - 2015 Squad Stats:

Number of riders: 10 full time, 2 part seasons

Number of Australians: 9

Number of internationals: 3 (1 ITA, 1 NED, 1 SWE)

Youngest rider: Alexandra Manly (18)

Oldest rider: Loes Gunnewijk (34)

Average age (as at 2 December 2014): 26.67years

ORICA-AIS – Australian Summer of Cycling Program

2 – 5 January: Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic (VIC)

7 – 11 January: Cycling Australia Road National Championships (VIC)

17 – 20 January: Santos Women’s Tour (SA)

31 January: Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race (VIC)