Sunshine Coast riders will be looking to use their local knowledge to challenge some of the worlds' best riders at this weekend’s Cycling Australia Para-cycling Road National Championships on the Sunshine Coast
In 2012, the Para-cycling Road National Championships will take on a different feel with riders all looking to impress ahead of the Paralympics starting in late August.
With cycling fast becoming one of the most exciting and hotly contested Paralympic sports, Australia will be looking to field one of the strongest teams to date. For many of the nation’s top cyclists converging on the Sunshine Coast region over the weekend including a number of local competitors, the time to secure a place on the flight to London is now.
The Para-cycling Road National Championships have been held throughout the Sunshine Coast since 2009 and will take off with a fast and furious time trial on Saturday morning heading along an 8km course west along Caloundra Mooloolaba Road with each division riding as many as 3 laps. Sunday will see competitors travel to the Glass House Mountains region for a tough road race with some describing it as one of the best courses in the country that will challenge even the most seasoned competitors.
Local Sunshine Coast Cycling Club riders Harley Quinlan and Darron Shields will call on key local knowledge of each of the courses and the conditions of the region which are set to throw up a number of challenges for riders this weekend. The forecast is for showers and moderate winds which will test riders especially at Saturday’s time trial as riders will be looking at posting some blistering times. Shields, an experienced veteran at these Championships believes that the weather may have the ability to catch out some of the big guns over the weekend.
Men’s hand-cyclist Darron Shields added “As any athlete will tell you have to have a game plan on how you are going to race. With the weather not looking good, athletes may have to rethink their race plans on the day of event or during the race.”
“This is the 4th year the Championships have been held on the coast and event has grown in numbers each year which is great news for the sport. The 2012 NHS (National Hand-cycling Series) has seen some great performances at the top level and some fantastic efforts by up and coming athletes”. Shields added.
This group of up and comers will feature another Sunshine Coast local, Harley Quinlan. Harley will be looking to press his claims for London with a strong performance in both the time trial and road race. “I’m really looking forward to the weekend, I have been training hard for a while now and am keen to see how I go. I am feeling a little nervous but I have done a couple rounds before this one so it’s good to have them under my belt.” Quinlan added. Nerves can play a big part in what kind of performance you put down although even the most experienced riders use these nerves to their advantage.
“Nerves are a good thing if you keep them under control it also tells you that you want to have a good performance.” Added Shields.
Harley is no stranger to this level of competition with a background in professional motor cross and will take on the daunting task of stopping National and Oceania Champion Michael Taylor. The Victorian will be out to defend his title from last years’ event as he clinched both the time trial and road race gold medals in 2011. Harley is adamant that he does not get “intimidated by anyone”. He added that he is most looking forward to the road race on Sunday. “The Glass House Mountains is a tough one with everything from short steep climbs to long slow climbs which will sort the men out from the boys. I Love riding in the hills so I can’t wait to get out and ride with the best.”
For all the action, news and venues of the 2012 Cycling Australia Para-cycling Road National Championships visit the Cycling Australia website HERE
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Lachlan Paull, Thursday, 12 April 2012