After an exciting start to the 2018 season, the Drapac EF p/b Cannondale Holistic Development team is heading north to compete in Cycling Australia’s newly revamped National Road Series (NRS).
The first race on the NRS calendar is the Grafton to Inverell Cycle Classic; a race which is widely acknowledged as the toughest one-day race on the Australian racing calendar, being a 228 kilometre course, involving over 3000 metres of climbing.
After some solid top 10 results at the Tour of Thailand, the group is aiming towards opening their 2018 NRS campaign with a win. With the Gibraltar climb often eliminating many of the riders’ hopes after 70 kilometres, Drapac EF are sending their best climbers for the course in Jess Featonby and Sascha Bondarenko. Both who are relative newcomers to the sport and have come from a triathlete background.
Sascha Bondarenko is looking to build on his recent form from Thailand, aiming to improve on his 2017 Grafton to Inverell placing.
“Last year was the first time I raced this one-day classic”, said Bondarenko. “Although I learnt a lot from the experience, I definitely didn’t achieve the result I was hoping for. Along with the experience from last year, being in better form this year, and riding with a great new team, this year’s Grafton will be a very different race for me and will be a good opportunity to etch my name into a small piece of history”.
Drapac EF’s sport director for the day will be Mark O’Brien, who has lined up for his fair share of Grafton to Inverell races in the past.
“Along with the Melbourne to Warrnambool, Grafton is the other true classic in Australian cycling”, said Mark. “With two former runners up, Monk and Kent-Spark, we have high ambitions heading into Grafton, and are hoping to get the 2018 NRS season off to the best possible start. The team going to Grafton is well balanced, with riders capable of being competitive in many different circumstances”.
Leading the team out on the road will be team captain Ollie Kent-Spark. Said Kent-Spark on the race, “We have a well rounded team, that has the ability to, and the expectation of contesting the finish. I’m confident that our squads experience and strength will produce a positive day out”.
The Grafton to Inverell Cycle Classic will begin in Grafton on Saturday the 12th of May at 7.15am. It will be broadcast via the NRS website; details of which will be released before Saturday.
Drapac EF p/b Cannondale Grafton to Inverell Roster