Toovey to stagiaire with Trek Segafredo
Photo: PDitty Images
This is great for Australian cycling!
The crumpling of the National Road Series, enormous gaps in racing and no clearly defined pathway outside the National team makes Australia a hard-hitting environment to embark on a professional cycling career. Two days ago news dropped that Ayden Toovey will stagiaire with Trek-Segafredo at the Tour Poitou-Charentes - I love this! A talented under 19 that entered the under 23 ranks with the age-old problem of, where do I go now? At the end of 2015, I was sitting at Launceston's finest Pizza Hut after the Stan Shekia Classic (in November) engulfing a fat crust pineapple pizza, while Toovey weaved the tale that numerous top juniors have told before. I want to go to the U23 National team but I'm in the 4th-10th best rider bracket, resulting in Cycling Australia dealing out the famous phrase "we will decide after road nationals" - for those that don't know that's in January the next year. Now, it doesn't take Einstein to calculate that January is too late to find a contract for the coming year - so what do you do? In my opinion, the National team is the best vehicle to progressive to the world tour but you're playing with fire if there is no alternate option in place.
Toovey, the now 21-year-old, was not selected for the U23 National team but continued with his roots at The New South Wales Institue of Sport (NSWIS) who provided him a fantastic platform to develop as an athlete and snag some nice results along the way; full credit NSWIS. I have little knowledge about the program but based on their results and chatting to Toovey it seems to be a great team. When speaking with the Stanley Street Social Toovey commended NSWIS and its management on the culture they have created, "NSWIS has a family like feel to it, they know how to knuckle down and get the job done but also have a bit of fun along the way. Both Brad and Ben (Brad Mcgee and Ben Kersten) knew the importance of enjoyment whilst training every day as they both had experienced both sides of the sport. Not many people have the luxury of having Brad's and Ben's knowledge and experience which has crucial in racing, training and just everyday life." You will never know, but it could have been a blessing in disguise that he wasn't picked up by the national body.
I'd like to think Trek-Segafredo would scoop up the young Canberra University student after showcasing the package he has to offer in France next week. A: he is talented (hence the Trek stagiaire) and with a 2nd place result at last year's 277km Melbourne-Warrnambool, the professional racing distance of greater than 5 hours shouldn’t be an issue for the boy from Mudgee, New South Wales. B: He is a genuine person that will fit into any team environment – a key attribute that can't be measured on Pro Cycling Stats.
I don’t really understand why this has not been reported on – the Stanley Street Social have their fingers right on the pulse and for mine, this should be a significant story for cycling in Australia.
Anyway, congrats Ayden and I'll see you all back at the social club.