The 2020 season seemed all but over for racing this year, until the opportunity arose to hold a 9-day block of racing for our National Series Teams coming into the start of December.
Team managers, AusCycling and other support staff met on a weekly basis to organise what would be a ‘bubble’ scenario for riders and teams to come together and provide the opportunity for racing at the end of 2020, to maintain an important development process for individuals and teams leading into the summer of racing period.
Sydney UNI Staminade attending the racing block, signed up to all 9 days which included individual time trials, criteriums, road races and a team time trial. The team contained; Georgia Miansarow, Nicole Frain, Jen Darmondy, Gina Ricardo, Georgie Whitehouse and Haylee Fuller, led by team management David Jordon and Donna Rae-slazlinski.
The team brought strength in experience, hill climbers, technical riders, sprinters and time trialists as well as including the youngest riders in the peloton first year junior Hayley Fuller who showed she belonged with the big girls every day.
Back to back race days means that priority to recovery and rest was paramount, with no race days being helds below 30 degrees, the team took this in their stride recovering well and monitoring their personal fatigue levels with most having a rest day within the 9 days.
The teams performed exceptionally well under the guidance of Donna, learning each day and applying new tactics. Day 1 saw top performance with a podium finish in the Time Trial for Nicole Frain taking out 3rd, followed by an equally dominant performance on Day 2 to take the overall win, and an impressive team performance from the remaining riders in the peloton to help control the outcome of the race. Following Day 2 the team found Nicole in the National Road Series Leaders Jersey, which they would retain until Day 5.
Day 4 was a day for the climbers, which saw a couple of riders from both our team and other teams take a rest day. Nicole Frain again had an outstanding performance finishing 4th on what would be just 12 riders completing the race.
Day 5 was another exceptional day for the team, with Gina Ricardo taking out her first National Road Series podium, and the top spot! Gina perfected her timing to make a split early in the race, which included two other riders and was able to outsprint Australian track riders to take the winning position. Georgia Whitehouse would also sprint in the bunch to come 6th.
The following days would be equally as challenging with many difficult climbs and technical descents. Nicole Frain would continue to perform in the top 5 frequently, moving into 2nd overall in the NRS standings and heavily supported by her team, in some racers where just 7 riders would finish (race 7).
The next exciting performance would come from the Team Time Trial, executing a near seamless ride over the 30km course, and against riders well versed in the art of time trialing, Sydney-UNI-Staminade would take out 2nd place overall against Australian Racing Academy Team just 46seconds off the pace and a further 45 seconds to 3rd place.
The final day topped out at 34degrees, in what would be a hot, fast finish with one significant climb and a long technical descent. The descent playing a major role in the outcome of the race and eventually deciding a split in the race. Nicole Frain again made the selection, and a finish filled with sprinters, finished a successful 5th place, followed by Gina Ricardo in 8th, Georgia Miansarow in 12th and Haylee Fuller in 13th.
Overall, the team finished the National Road Series in 2nd place in team standings, and Nicole Frain in 3rd place in the individual point classification.
The team showed skill, determination and the ability to perform under pressure in back to back racing days all while thoroughly enjoying the experience.
The next block of racing on the teams radar will be the summer of racing, and the Australian National Road Championships in February, while some of our riders are now heading to Brisbane read for Track Nationals (Haylee Fuller and Georgie Whitehouse).
We thank our sponsors for continuing to support us and our riders, making these opportunities possible.