AusCycling | The National Road Series returns: USC Cycle Sunshine Coast preview

The National Road Series returns: USC Cycle Sunshine Coast preview

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The summer of cycling arrives in Queensland this weekend for the return and finish of the 2021 National Road Series at Cycle Sunshine Coast. The University of Sunshine Coast (USC) Cycle Sunshine Coast cycling festival from 17-19 December will bring down the curtain on an abbreviated season that’s been on hold since May. Here’s everything you need to know.

Stages

Stage 1 - Maroochydore CBD (Criterium)

Cycle Sunshine Coast rips into action this evening in the heart of Maroochydore’s CBD. Riders will tackle a relatively stock standard rectangular-esque 900m loop.

Both the men and women will race for an hour plus three laps under a fading Sunshine Coast sunset, with the women starting at 6.30pm and the men at 7.25pm.

NRS

Stage 2 – Peachester

A bright and early Saturday morning start greets the women’s NRS peloton, which will race over 90km (five laps), with a total elevation gain of 1225m from 7am.

Stage 2 of the men’s race departs at 10.30am from Peachester and will be contested over 162km (eight laps), with a hefty elevation profile of 1960m.

The crucial section of the 18.3km Peachester circuit will undoubtedly be the 3km Kilcoy-Beerwah Road onto Peachester Road climb.

The main climb of the circuit will hit the NRS packs at an average grade of 5.9%, topping out at a maximum of 11.4%.

Stage 3 – North Arm

A stereotypical Queensland summer early morning rise kicks off the final day of action of the 2021 NRS, with the men departing at 6.15am and the women at 8.45am.

The 9.9km North Arm circuit will be no stranger to the Queensland-based riders of the NRS, with last year’s Queensland State Road Championships held on the same roads.

The final road race of the 2021 NRS season serves up 99km (nine laps) for the men with 1201m of climbing and 69.3km (six laps) for the women with 868m of climbing.

Stage 4 – USC (ITT)

The winners of the inaugural Cycle Sunshine Coast, as well as the 2021 NRS, will be decided at the USC campus around two laps of a 3.1km course.

The twisty, technical and flat course will be an entertaining end to the race.

The women’s ITT will begin at 12.30pm, followed by the men’s ITT at 2pm.

NRS

Ones to watch

With #RoadNats22 just weeks away, the intensity will be well and truly at the maximum for this weekend’s Cycle Sunshine Coast.

Dylan Sunderland returns for an NRS cameo following his second year on the WorldTour with Team Qhubeka NextHash. Sunderland’s last foray in the NRS was in 2019 with Team BridgeLane, earning two second-place finishes at the Tour de Brisbane and Grafton to Inverell Cycle Classic. Sunderland’s top finish this year was a 13th on Stage 14 of the Vuelta a España.

ARA Pro Racing Sunshine Coast are the bonafide locals and organisers of Cycle Sunshine Coast and will no doubt be looking to win the whole show this weekend. Look out for a strong weekend from Declan Trezise, Cameron Scott, Lauren Perry and Anya Louw.

Ruby Roseman-Gannon will be looking for one last hoorah in ARA Pro Racing Sunshine Coast colours before officially joining Team BikeExchange Jayco in 2022. The Victorian is the current leader of the 2021 NRS women after her win at the inaugural Gibraltar to Inverell.

Other names to keep a close eye on include Sunshine Coast’s Alastair MacKellar, fresh from a debut season abroad with Israel Cycling Academy, NRS stalwarts Joe Cooper (Giant Racing Team) and Ruth Corset (Solaris Racing p/b SCCC), New Zealand Olympian Jordan Kerby (Meiyo CCN Pro Cycling), Sydney Uni-Staminade Women’s Cycling Team’s Gina Ricardo and as always, any member of the Team BridgeLane or InForm TMX Make squads.

Where to follow

A live feed of updates will be shared to the Australian Cycling Academy Facebook page throughout the race as well as a daily update on AusCycling Instagram and Facebook.

Full highlights from the race will be broadcast via SBS at 4.30pm on December 26.

Results will be updated throughout the weekend.

To find out more about the USC Cycle Sunshine Coast cycling festival, visit the event website.

Pictures: Australian Cycling Academy and Tour de Brisbane

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