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by Neal Rogers
December 12, 2017
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Australia’s Continental ranks are set to expand in 2018 with several domestic teams making the step up to UCI classification. Joining those teams will be ACA-Ride Sunshine Coast, a new outfit started by Commonwealth Games gold medallist Ben Kersten and Orica-Scott sports director Matt Wilson.
In setting up the Australian Cycling Academy (ACA), the pair has collaborated with the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) and the Sunshine Coast Council. The ACA-Ride Sunshine Coast team was founded with a goal to “create a better future for Australian cyclists, on and off the bike.”
The team will fill its racing calendar with events from Australia’s National Road Series, and lower-level races from the Asia Tour. Besides racing in Australia and Asia under a Continental (i.e. third-tier) license, the Australian Cycling Academy will provide a tertiary education scholarship program and professional mentoring for its riders.
Thirteen riders will comprise the ACA-Ride Sunshine Coast roster in its debut season, headlined by former WorldTour professional Leigh Howard. The 28-year-old multiple-time track world champion will be joined at the ACA by promising young talents such as Kelland O’Brien, Sam Welsford, Cameron Scott and Daniel Fitter.
The full ACA-Ride Sunshine Coast roster is as follows: Leigh Howard, Kelland O’Brien, Sam Welsford, Cameron Scott, Daniel Fitter, Mitchell Wright, Michael Potter, Amarni Gates, Elliot Schultz, Aidan Kampers, Toby Orchard, Ashley Mackay and Alistair Mackellar.
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