A team of six riders will represent Great Britain at the 2015 Jayco Herald Sun Tour stage race in Victoria, Australia from 4-8 February.
Four British Cycling Olympic Academy Programme riders will be joined by podium programme mountain biker Grant Ferguson and guest rider Josh Edmondson for the five-day, UCI 2.1 stage race that will see Britain’s under-23 riders go head to head with UCI World Tour and Pro Continental teams such as Orica – GreenEdge and MTB-Qhubeka.
- Gabriel Cullaigh
- Scott Davies
- Josh Edmondson
- Grant Ferguson
- Jake Kelly
- Chris Lawless
Gabriel Cullaigh hails from Holmfirth in West Yorkshire and began cycling as a mountain biker in 2008. Cullaigh soon moved to the road and joined local cycling club Holme Valley Wheelers in 2009.
Three years later and Cullaigh joined British Cycling’s former Talent Team programme and made his way through the performance pathway to gain acceptance on to the academy in October 2014. At 18 years old Cullaigh will be the youngest rider in the race.
Scott Davies guested with the Great Britain squad for the 2014 UCI Under-23 Nations’ Cup campaign alongside his domestic commitments with trade team Madison Genesis.
It was a big year for the 19-year-old, who won the under-23 British time-trial title in Abergavenny before being accepted onto the academy in October.
Guest Josh Edmondson signed with Team Sky after a standout performance in the 2012 Tour of Britain and competed for the squad throughout the 2013 and 2014 seasons. For 2015, the 22-year-old from Leeds will ride with the Great Britain academy squad to further his overall athlete development.
Grant Ferguson is the surprise addition to the team, the Olympic Podium Programme mountain biker forgoing the cyclo-cross world championships to get some endurance groundwork in place ahead of another season of world cup cross-country mountain biking.
A formidable climber, Ferguson will thrive on the race’s difficult stages and has proven his mettle on the road before, producing an impressive performance as a junior at the 2011 UEC European Road Championships.
Despite being just 20 years old, Manxman Jake Kelly already has a proven stage racing pedigree, winning the Isle of Man Junior Tour in 2013 before joining Great Britain’s academy road squad for a busy 2014 including the An Post Ras stage race, British championships, the Commonwealth Games road race and the prestigious Tour de l’Avenir.
Chris Lawless moved up to the under-23 ranks in 2014 having produced some excellent results in his final season as a junior, with a stage win, two second places and the points jersey at the Trofeo Karlsberg, along with a second place on stage 2b of the Course de la Paix.
Lawless began his under-23 season at the Sun Tour a year ago, going on to ride the opening salvo of UCI Nations’ Cup events in April before riding the Ras, British championships and the Tour of Britain.
The Jayco Herald Sun Tour takes place in Victoria on the south-easterly tip of Australia and is the oldest stage race on the Australian calendar, holding its 62nd edition in 2015.
As a UCI 2.1 (UCI Continental Circuits) event, the Jayco Herald Sun Tour ranks alongside stage races such as the Tour of Qatar, Route du Sud and the Vuelta a Murcia.
The 2014 edition was won by 28-year-old Australian Simon Clarke, who is hoping to make it two in a row in 2015.
Prologue - 4 February - 2.1km
The race begins with a spectator-friendly 2.1-kilometre prologue time trial in the heart of Melbourne. Starting in Federation Square, the technical route takes the riders across the Yarra River for a loop around Alexandra Gardens before heading along the riverfront to finish in Queens Square.
Stage 1 - 5 February - Mount Macedon to Bendigo - 146.2km
Stage one begins with a tough loop on Mount Macedon before heading north towards Bendigo, on the way taking in a second climb at Mount Alexander.
Stage 2 - 6 February- Bendigo to Nagambie - 117.9km
Stage two begins at Bendigo’s Tom Flood Velodrome before heading east on a lumpy stage through Victoria’s Shiraz vineyards, ending on the shores of Lake Nagambie.
Stage 3 - 7 February - Mitchelton Wines to Nagambie - 146.7km
The penultimate stage begins in the Mitchelton Winery, heading south to Seymour for a loop taking in the 600-metre climb of the Highland Road before retracing its path back through Seymour and on to Nagambie for a sprint finish.
Stage 4 - 8 February - Arthur’s Seat to Arthur’s Seat - 122km
The final stage takes place entirely on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, a picturesque area of hills, vineyards, national parks and coastal views. The finale will be no picnic for the riders however, with three tough and potentially decisive climbs of Arthur’s Seat providing the race’s final test.
Reports and results will appear on the British Cycling website.
You can also follow British Cycling on Twitter @BritishCycling for updates.