Three Goulburn cyclists will soon be competing against the best in Australia, after they were named in two teams for the National Road Series.
Cameron Roberts (riding for the GPM Stulz team), Jacob Emmerton, and Robert Dorsett (both riding for the TRS Racing Team) were thrilled by the news, and Emmerton described it as "a nice step in the right direction" for his competitive aspirations.
"I was a bit overjoyed, and it's just a really good atmosphere [in the team]," Dorsett said. "What they offered us in terms of people and culture and the size of the team was one of those things you can't say no to."
Dorsett and Emmerton were both selected in the TRS Racing Team, which was formed earlier this year, and is designed to "allow an opportunity for young upcoming riders to compete at the elite level of cycling in Australia," according to a statement on its homepage.
Though the trio have some experience racing at the national level, Emmerton knows it will be a serious step up.
"I've competed in four or five NRS races so far, and they've been ridiculously tough races," he said.
"The best 150 or so guys in Australia race in it, and to race at that level you have to have a good fitness level and be confident."
With two of the eight members of the TRS team hailing from Goulburn, Dorsett expects this home-town connection to prove advantageous during the series.
"It's definitely good having other people from Goulburn around," he said. "When you do go away you've got your mates there. You train with them every day, you know where they're at [physically].
"A lot of people [from other teams] don't have that advantage either, of training with their teammates every day."
To accommodate the shortened season due to the COVID-19 lockdown, the NRS will take place over the course of roughly four months.
With an enormous workload approaching, Dorsett is training constantly to regain his race fitness.
"Fitness hasn't been too bad during the break, I've just cut back a little bit," he said.
"I've got to slog for the next month to get ready. The first race is in six weeks and it rolls on from there."
Emmerton, who is approaching the end of an Exercise Science degree at the University of Canberra, has taken a different tack with his preparation.
"I've done a lot of research into the science of cycling, not just going off what people say, and I've adapted a different kind of training response to what most people have done through this time," Emmerton said.
"A lot of people have taken the time to back off the bike, but I've seen it as an opportunity to get kilometres in the legs so my body is prepared for back-to-back weekends of racing."
To have three cyclists named in high-level teams is a significant coup for the Goulburn Cycle Club, and it has left Dorsett feeling optimistic about the state of local cycling.
"We've always got a pretty strong cycling core, it's really good actually," he said.
The National Road Series will get underway on August 7 with the Tour of the Tweed.
For more information, please visit www.nationalroadseries.com.
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