ELITE cyclists visited schools across the city this week ahead of the annual Tour of the Great South Coast set to kick off today at Vansittart Park.
Cyclists from Sydney-based team Mobius Future Racing presented to students at Reidy Park Primary School, Allendale East Area School, Tenison Woods College and Moorak Primary School, promoting health and road safety.
Professional cyclists flock to the region each year to compete in what has become one of the most popular events on the National Road Series calendar.
This year marks the sixth running of the tour and the fifth occasion the tour has started in Mount Gambier.
Riders Jesse Coyle, Angus Lyons and Aden Reynolds spoke to Tenison Woods College High Performance Sports Program students about balancing training and education, their achievements in the sport to date and dealing with setbacks.
“Aden and I are still finishing our uni degrees and Jesse has just graduated, so we have had to balance our training with other commitments,” Mr Lyons said.
“This tour is one of the longer ones in the series in terms of days, but each one of the races are quite short.
“Personally I have been focusing on shorter, high intensity training.”
Mr Coyle said after finishing his exercise physiology degree he intended to focus on his cycling.
“I was always a rower but took up cycling after a back injury,” he said.
“I still teach high school rowing during Summer and I’ve just finished uni so I will have more free time to focus on cycling now.
“I cycle around 600km every week on average but it depends on the event I’m training for.”
Mr Reynolds said the team had trained consistently in the lead up to the tour.
“Over the last six weeks there has been a nice big build up and this is when the racing phase really begins,” Mr Reynolds said.
“There are not too many big climbs during this tour, when we head to Tasmania later in the year we will face longer climbs.”
Competitors this year range from local young rising star Jack Patzel, to recent Tour de France competitor, New Zealander Patrick Bevan and international stars Scott Sunderland and Anthony Giacoppo.
Racing starts at 11am today with a criterium around Vansittart Park, before the stage two road race takes in the Reidy Park/Blue Lake area from 2.30pm.
Thursday will see stage three start and finish at Port MacDonnell, taking in some of the coastal and rural roads in the region, before the tour heads across the border.
The tour will finish with a criterium at the Port of Portland.