Sport

Geared up to take on the best

PUMPED UP: Logan's Trent Carmen and James Szollosi are part of a new cycling team entering the National Road Series.
PUMPED UP: Logan's Trent Carmen and James Szollosi are part of a new cycling team entering the National Road Series.

QUEENSLAND'S newest cycling road team has big aspirations.

After three years of planning, the Erdinger Alkoholfrei / Downer EDi Mining cycling team has secured the sponsorship funds to compete on Cycling Australia's 2012 National Road Series.

After spending 2011 riding in Spain, experienced cyclist Reuben Donati will lead the eight-man team, which features five cyclists from Logan.

With strong hope and expectation, team director Dave Carman said the side, which will be launched on Friday, was raring to pedal.

"This is the next step for us," he said.

"We've been racing in the local Queensland series but going up to the national road series is a huge step.

"This is something the whole team has wanted to do and it's a great opportunity for them.

"Some have now quit their jobs and gone to part-time work just so they can train full-time."

Erdinger Alkoholfrei / Downer EDi Mining will make their National Road Series debut at the Mersey Valley Tour in Tasmania in April, with the 12-race series to culminate at the Grafton to Inverell on October 27.

Carman expected success in the team's inaugural year.

"This year we'd like to win a couple of stages in a couple of tours," he said.

"We have some good hill climbers so I think we will also get a couple of King of the Mountain crowns."

Carman was confident after a couple of years on the national circuit Erdinger Alkoholfrei / Downer EDi Mining would be the team to beat in the National Road Series.

But he was adamant a lot of the focus would be on nurturing south-east Queensland's next wave of cycling talent including the team's young charges Jesse Kerrison, Rafael Vainikka, James Szollosi and Ben and Trent Carman.

"I think there is a lot of talent in Queensland who don't have the opportunity to compete at this level," he said.

"Last year, two top riders in the National Road Series got picked up to be on European teams and will be doing the Tour de France.

"These boys definitely have what it takes to do something similar.

"It could be a few years down the track, but the opportunity is now there for them."

Cycling's road race discipline is in a golden phase with Cadel Evans' Tour de France triumph still fresh in people's minds and the recent launch of Australia's first international professional team, GreenEDGE Cycling.

Carman hoped Erdinger Alkoholfrei / Downer EDi Mining team could capitalise on the cycling boom.

"It's a great thing for the sport; the best thing that's happened," he said about Evans' win.

"It will make our young riders realise that dreams can come true.

"From the corporate side it also gives the sport more awareness, which will help smaller teams like us when we're chasing sponsorships."

The Erdinger Alkoholfrei / Downer EDi Mining cycling team will be officially launched at Daisy Hill on Friday.


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