The Sunshine Coast's cycling team is riding a winning streak, after taking out another title on the weekend – bringing home not only the top spot but also taking a clean sweep of the podium in the opening stage of the Tour of the Great South Coast.
It was a highly successful week for the Sunshine Coast team, with three stage wins and a presence on the podium on each of the eight stages.
The six-day, eight-stage tour is the longest tour on the National Road Series calendar, and covers 541.2 kilometres of scenic terrain from South Australia to Victoria.
Sunshine Coast cyclist Kelland O'Brien clinched the overall victory as well as claiming the King of the Mountain and Sprint jerseys, in his maiden National Road Series Tour. A feat he said that came as a surprise.
"I didn't expect to win the tour when I arrived, but I bought some good form home from Europe," O'Brien said.
He already has the team pursuit world record and world champion titles under his belt and is now setting his sights on next year's challenges.
"Now I will have a rest and continue my training towards the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games," O'Brien said.
Teammate Sam Welsford pushed O'Brien for the overall Tour victory after featuring in six podiums and picking up two stage wins by the time the tour reached the penultimate Stage 7. Unfortunately for the dual 2019 world champion, a loss of some 32 seconds to O'Brien on the prior Stage 7 around Bridgewater meant he also conceded the leader's jersey with one stage to go. Welsford cemented third place overall and was awarded the Criterium jersey.
Sunshine Coast Economic Tourism, Events and Sport portfolio Councillor Cr Jason O'Pray said that as a founding principal partner of the Australian Cycling Academy here on the Sunshine Coast, where the Pro Racing team is based, council is extremely proud of the team's achievements since their inception in October 2017.
"What a fantastic achievement for the Pro Racing Sunshine Coast team and for the members who show such grit and determination to win the longest tour on the National Road Cycling Series," Cr O'Pray said.
"The Sunshine Coast is now a regular contributor to elite sport results in Australia. The ACA has certainly put our region on the map when it comes to cycling, and these latest accolades just enhance our reputation. I'm sure our international status will continue to grow – especially with riders who are bound for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
"The skills, talent and determination of these athletes really shine a spotlight on our healthy, smart and creative community here and the amazing achievements people are making."
Pro Racing Sunshine Coast sport director Stu Shaw said he couldn't be happier with the team's performance.
"The team has worked together so well all week. They've worked super hard, supported each other out on the road, and we have got the result we were after. We're extremely proud of the way Kell was able to keep calm today to win the tour overall.
It shows that hard work and team work both pay off, and that is really the ethos of this team. We couldn't be happier with this performance," Shaw said.
Pro Racing Sunshine Coast is part of the Australian Cycling Academy at the University of the Sunshine Coast. For more information on the academy visit www.aca-cycling.cc/training-programs