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TLD gives Toowoomba tour followers its best team shot

| 25th May 2015 5:00 AM

HEADING WEST: Team TLD rider competing in yesterday’s Tour of Toowoomba criterium. Photo: Kevin Farmer

IT DIDN’T have a rider on the winner’s podium during this year’s FKG Tour of Toowoomba.

But Team TLD won the hearts and admiration of its supporters and Toowoomba cycling public with a brave display in this year’s event.

The six-member Toowoomba-based team was a wildcard entry into its home tour which this year included the longest and toughest stages in the event’s six-year history.

Pedr Harvey, Michael Hooper, Richard MacAvoy and Jonathon Noble all lined up at Thursday’s tour start alongside 38-year-old Trent West and 16-year-old Harvey Silk for the hardest ride of their lives.

All riders made it through to Saturday’s fourth torturous mountain stage.

Hooper, West and Silk all won through to yesterday’s finale after Harvey, MacAvoy and Noble were three of 23 riders who did not finish Saturday’s climb.

Harvey Silk races with Team TLD. Photo: Kevin Farmer

Harvey Silk races with Team TLD.Kevin Farmer
West was the only TLD team member with Tour of Toowoomba experience after contesting last year’s race which he said has now gone to another level.

“This year’s race made last year’s look easy,” West said.

“It was a whole lot tougher, especially on Friday in the wind.

“The whole tour was great and a credit to the organisers.

“I’m the oldest man in this year’s field at 38 and I don’t know if I’ve got another tour in me.

“But if the team needs me back next year, I’ll probably give it another crack.

“It would have been nice to have all our six riders here today, but to get three through is still a big achievement.

“Harvey’s effort to be here today is unbelievable.

“He’s ridden out of his skin and has obviously put in the hard yards.

“We get so well looked after by the team and this experience will give us a lot of confidence and fitness going back to the Queensland Road Team Series.

“We’ve also had a lot of public support – especially on Saturday, which we really appreciate.”

Team TLD supporters (from left) Lily, Kym, Halli and Meg West cheer on dad and husband Trent West. Photo: Kevin Farmer

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Schweizer rides off with a slice of Toowoomba tour history

Glen McCullough | 24th May 2015 6:54 PM Updated: 9:56 PM

GERMANY'S Michael Schweizer (African Wildlife Safaris) has sensationally clinched the FKG Tour Leader jersey. Photo: Nev Madsen

GERMAN Michael Schweizer fell for Toowoomba’s charm during his first visit to the city.

It is now even closer to his heart after he created a slice of history with his victory in the 2015 FKG Tour of Toowoomba.

Schweizer became the first overseas rider to win the tour and have his name engraved on the Howard Webb trophy in its sixth year of existence.

“It’s a good region to come to and I would definitely come back to have a better look, ” the 31-year-old said amid his African Wildlife Safaris (AWS) teammates at Queens Park.

FKG Tour of Toowoomba 2015 winner Michael Schweizer gets a kiss from Krissy Robinson (left) and Letitia Haddy.Kevin Farmer
The four-day, five-stage tour wound up with today’s traditional 50km criterium on the surrounding streets of Queens Park.

The race was won by Dan Fitter from Charter Mason Racing who outsprinted a breakaway group along Lindsay St to wind up the record-length tour of 520 kilometres.
Tour of Toowoomba stage five winner: Dan Fitter from Charter Mason Racing outsprinted a breakaway group along Lindsay St to win the FKG Tour of Toowoomba stage five 50km Queens Park criterium.
Two-time Tour of Toowoomba winner Patrick Shaw completed another strong tour performance to claim the criterium third place.

There were four different stage winners in this year’s event with Jack Anderson, Joseph Cooper and day two and three winner Brad Evans all on the victor’s podium.

But Schweizer’s consistency throughout the race from day one when he won the most aggressive rider and king of the mountain jerseys set up his tour win which has shot him to the lead in this year’s 13-leg National Road Series.


FKG Tour of Toowoomba winner Michael Schweizer (in purple leaders jersey) in the peloton during stage five 50km Queens Park criterium.Kevin Farmer
Schweizer, from Aachen, began riding in Europe in 1998 and teamed last year with the Synergy Baku Cycling Project before making his way to Australia to link with AWS.

He relished the opportunity to test himself on the toughest Toowoomba tour course yet presented.

“This is one of my biggest wins. I’m very happy,’ Schweizer said.

“It’s one of the hardest stages races I have been in.

“It had a bit of everything. There was some awesome racing.”

Charter Mason Racing’s Keagan Girdlestone finished tour runner-up with New Zealand’s Brad Evans (Pat’s Veg Cycling) third.

FKG Tour of Toowoomba overall placegetters (from left) Keagan Girdlestone (2nd), Michael Schweizer (1st) and Brad Evans (3rd) with Gary Gardner, Krissy Robinson and (far right) Letitia Haddy.Kevin Farmer
One of the tour hard-luck stories belonged to stage one -winner Jack Anderson of Team Budget Forklifts.

Anderson claimed the virtual tour lead during Saturday’s stage four before a broken chain in the final kilometres ended his race and put him 34 seconds from the lead going in to the final day.

Budget unsuccessfully appealed the official decision not to give Anderson the final main-group finishing time it believed he was entitlted to.

“It was very disappointing, but it is what it is,” Anderson said prior to today’s final stage.

“What can you do? You just have to move on and hopefully we can still finish with the team victory.”

Anderson’s hopes were realised with the four-man Budget team of Anderson, Jack Bobridge, Kristian Juel and Michael Torckler winning the Teams General Classification from Charter Mason.


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German rider is new FKG Tour of Toowoomba leader

23rd May 2015 7:50 PM

Brad Evans celebrates his victory in today's FGK Tour of Toowoomba stage four. Nev Madsen

GERMANY’S Michael Schweizer (African Wildlife Safaris) has sensationally clinched the FKG Tour of Toowoomba lead after finishing today’s penultimate stage over four minutes ahead of overnight leader Joe Cooper (Avanti Racing).

“I’m really happy that I could get the overall lead today,” Schweizer, a former Baku Synergy rider, told Cycling Australia.

“I’ve never in my life won a tour before, I’ve been in the leader’s jersey once but now it’s a big chance for me to win this tour.”

Schweizer was part of a select breakaway group that included other general classification contenders Jack Anderson (Budget Forklifts) and Keagan Girdlestone (Charter Mason), but crucially missed Tour leader Cooper after he was left out-numbered in the peloton.

GERMANY'S Michael Schweizer (African Wildlife Safaris) has sensationally clinched the FKG Tour Leader jersey. Photo: Nev Madsen

With 15 kilometres remaining, the 10-man breakaway was whittled down to just six riders, with stage one winner Anderson the virtual tour leader.

However luck wasn’t on Anderson’s side, with the Queenslander suffering a mechanical over the top of the final climb.

Despite the mishap occurring inside the final three kilometres, Anderson was not awarded the bunch time as judges ruled he was not in contact with the group when the incident occurred.

“Jack and I were both struggling on the last steep bit of the climb,” explained Scheweizer. “I went past him over the top because I was riding full gas to get back, so I didn’t even realise he had a mechanical I just saw he wasn’t there.

“That’s when I gave it everything to get enough seconds to take the overall lead.”

Scheweizer finished fourth on the stage to secure a 10-second advantage to second-placed Girdlestone.

Stage honours went to New Zealand’s Brad Evans (Pat’s Veg), who’s second consecutive stage victory moves him up to third place overall.

“I think the win yesterday gave the team and all our riders more confidence going into today,” said Evans who secured the development team’s first victory on Friday.

Evans bridged solo to the leading group inside the final 30 kilometres before out-sprinting Patrick Shaw (Avanti Racing) and Girdlestone to the line.

“No one was working in the bunch so I thought why not have a crack. I got about halfway thinking ‘what am I doing out here’, I was hurting but my legs responded. I only just caught the group on the main climb, which hurt like hell.

“Coming into the sprint, Schweizer led it out really hard, I think he was going for the Tour lead. Pat Shaw started his sprint and I bided my time and popped out and took the win.”

The championship style course saw riders tackle a 23km circuit six times, which included two short sharp climbs.

Sam Volkers (Team Scody Downunder) spent most of the day away solo, while various chase groups attempted to reel him in. Eventually the final break of the day caught him, before the pace proved too much for Volkers. His efforts earned him the prize for the Most Aggressive rider of the day.

The Tour concludes tomorrow with the criterium around Queens Park in Toowoomba.

Highlights from the FKG Tour of Toowoomba will be broadcast on the Nine Network’s GEM channel on Sunday, May 31 at 12noon and on Fox Sports 3 on Tuesday, June 2 at 6:00pm AEST


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Bobridge polish adds to this year’s Tour of Toowoomba shine

| 20th May 2015 5:00 PM


Budget Forklifts team member Jack Anderson competing in this year’s Oceania Championships individual time trial at Helidon. Photo: Ken Farmer

ONE of Australia’s highest profile cyclists will be looking to make his mark on the 2015 FKG Tour of Toowoomba when it launches across the region’s roads from Nobby tomorrow morning.

This year’s record 167-rider line-up shapes as one of the best credentialed in the tour’s six-year history with the appearance of multiple world and national champion Jack Bobridge underlining the field class.

Bobridge is part of the four-man Team Budget Forklifts squad lining up for its sixth successive Tour of Toowoomba.

The 25-year-old South Australian sits in equal third behind Avanti’s Patrick Bevin in the individual National Road Series standings.

Budget is placed third, also behind Avanti, in the teams’ general classification.

Bobridge – a multiple Olympic medallist – excels on both track and road.

He is the current individual pursuit world record holder and is a former under 23 world champion, world track champion and Australian road champion.

His European road career included a season with GreenEDGE while this year he won the Tour Down Under mountains classification.

Bobridge will team with Jack Anderson, Michael Torckler and Kristian Juel in his first Toowoomba tour appearance.

Injured Budget rider and acting team manager Sam Witmitz said despite arriving in Toowoomba with reduced numbers he is confident the team has the credentials to go all the way this week.

“Half of our squad has gone to America for four weeks of racing while we are down a few others through work and injuries,” Witmitz said on the team’s arrival in Toowoomba yesterday.

“Having a team of only four riders is less than ideal but I’m sure we can more than make up for that in quality.

“Toowoomba was a real turn-around for Budget as a team in 2012 with the win of Mark O’Brien and it’s a tour we pride ourselves on doing well in.

“Each of our riders are good all-rounders.

“And having Jack Bobridge as part of the team is massive.

“His appearance alone raises the profile of the team and the amount of experience he brings with him is invaluable.

“The time trial is one of his specialties and he’ll definitely be targeting that on Friday.”

Other high profile riders making their Tour of Toowoomba debut includes Wes Sulzberger from the Navitas Satalyst Racing Team.

Sulzberger has spent five years at the world tour level with FDJ and GreenEDGE.

He was a member of Cadel Evans’ winning team at the Mendrisio Worlds.

He won the Australian under 23 road championship and took silver at the world under 23 road race.


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Toowoomba team rookies set for first taste of tour

| 20th May 2015 10:52 AM

Experienced Team TLD rider Trent West will lead the team in this year's FKG Tour of Toowoomba, getting underway at Nobby tomorrow. Photo: Supplied

FIVE riders will celebrate a special moment at Nobby this morning when they line up in Toowoomba colours to tackle their first National Road Series (NRS) event.

The NRS debutantes will be part of the six-rider Team TLD competing for the second time in the FKG Tour of Toowoomba.

The Queensland Road Team Series outfit made its home-tour debut in 2014 and has been granted a wild-card entry in to this year’s event.

Masters rider Trent West is the only team member to have contested an NRS race.

Team-mates Pedr Harvey, Michael Hooper, Richard MacAvoy, Jonathon Noble and Harvey Silk are all riding at national road level for the first time.

Team spokesman and support crew member Dave Silk said TLD’s inexperienced squad is looking forward to flying the home-town flag against some of the nation’s best cyclists.

“This is definitely the hardest Tour of Toowoomba I’ve been involved in as an official or team management member since it began in 2010,” Silk said.

“But our team still has the capabilities to be there if everything goes well enough for us over the four days.

“Our aim last year was to be still there competing strongly on Sunday which all our riders managed to achieve.

“All the boys are fit and healthy and we have the same goal this year.

“It’s a big achievement for a local Toowoomba team to be riding at this level and they’ll all give it their best shot.”


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Kiwi rider out to extend series lead in Tour of Toowoomba

| 19th May 2015 5:00 PM

Patrick Bevin competes in the Oceania Road Championships Helidon time trial in February. Photo: Kevin Farmer

KIWI rider Patrick Bevin will be out to defend his lead in this year’s National Road Series when racing moves to the Darling Downs and Lockyer Valley this week for the 2015 FKG Tour of Toowoomba.

A record field of 25 teams and 167 riders line up in Nobby at 10am tomorrow for day one of the tour.

The Toowoomba event slots in as round three of the 11-round NRS.

The Woodside Tour of Perth and Jayco Adelaide Tour opened this year’s series

Bevin is in his first year as a team member with Avanti Racing which also heads the team general classification points table after the opening two rounds.

He holds a three-point lead over Guy Kalma of OTOC Vault Racing coming in to this week’s round.

Bevin scored his first professional level win in this year’s Herald Sun Tour when he took out the final stage to finish the race in second place behind Green-EDGE rider Cameron Mayer.

Bevin comes to Toowoomba with a last-start win under his belt in Adelaide where he scored a 43-second tour victory over teammate Matthew Clark.

Avanti will field a powerful line-up this week including two-time Tour of Toowoomba winner Patrick Shaw.

Shaw holds down equal third place in this year’s series with another Avanti rider Neil Van Der Ploeg who won last year’s opening Tour of Toowoomba stage.

This year’s team aggregate points table is dominated by UCI registered Continental teams following racing in Perth and Adelaide.

Charter Mason Giant Racing and Team Budget Forklifts are in second and third place respectively and will be looking to peg back Avanti this week.

Budget will be boosted by the inclusion of multiple Olympic Games medallist Jack Bobridge.


MAY 21-24

Four days, five stages

25 teams, 167 riders

Stage One, Thursday


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