African Wildlife Safaris Cycling
African Wildlife Safaris and sister company Natural Focus Safaris specialise in creating tailor-made safaris to the world’s greatest wildlife areas. Our CEO Steve Cameron is not only passionate about wildlife, but he is also a passionate cyclist and this has led to AWS sponsoring The Amy Gillett Foundation, as well as African Wildlife Safaris sponsoring its own National Road Series cycling team.
African Wildlife Safaris Cycling Team
African Wildlife Safaris are proud sponsors of a national level road cycling team, officially named the African Wildlife Safaris Cycling Team. Started in 2012, the team is poised to be one of the highest ranked teams in the National Road Series (NRS) in 2015.
2015 sees considerable restructuring of the AWSCT roster, with the focus on producing results, realising a return to sponsors plus creating an environment to nurture aspiring professionals while continuing to provide opportunities for young Melbourne-based riders. AWSCT is expanding on the UCI Continental experiences of 2014 by adding more UCI level events to the calendar and bringing in riders and team partners with international experience. Already in 2015 the team has raced the Jayco Herald-Sun Tour and the inaugural Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race.
For 2015 the team will be overseen by Will Walker of Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, who will also act as Sports Director for certain key races. Since retiring from professional cycling due to a debilitating heart condition, Will has been committed to giving back to the sport of cycling as well as supporting research into heart disease. Will has been instrumental in getting the African Wildlife Safaris Cycling Team on board as cycling ambassadors for the Baker IDI.
The 2015 roster has been substantially remodelled to cope with the growing standard of domestic racing. There is a balance of exciting new talent plus riders with a wealth of experience.
26 year old Italian, Massimo Graziato, is the headline signing coming to the team with 2 years aboard World Tour team Lampre. Massimo has worked as a domestique for some of the world’s best riders. With the support of the team, Massimo will be given an opportunity to chase his own results and will be a serious GC contender on most types of stages. He brings a huge amount of experience to the team and he will be a valuable role model to our young riders.
Rico Rogers is a well-known rider with years of domestic and international experience. Although nearing the end of his career, Rico has an explosive turn of speed which means he is capable of winning virtually any sprint finish adding to our increased sprinting credentials.
German signing Michael Schweizer continues the depth of the sprinters and with massive experience will provide a wealth of knowledge to the younger riders. We expect Michael to be competitive in most types of races and definitely in the sprints.
After a few years abroad rider Pat Lane is refocused and highly committed since returning home. Pat is a GC contender and good in all types of races. He will act as our Captain on the road.
Sean Lake, the former Australian Rower, produced the team’s best result in 2014 with a win in the Grafton to Inverell in only his second NRS race. Sean is a raw untapped talent with a massive aerobic capacity. Will Walker is looking forward to working with Sean and seeing exactly what sort of rider he will be. We believe Sean to be a future pro rider.
2015 will be Michael Crosbie’s first year as an Elite rider and he is looking to expand on multiple U23 National KOM titles. Another genuine GC rider Michael has shown his climbing credentials with 6th in the 2014 Mt Wellington ITT. After a couple of years competing in World Cup Mountain Biking Michael has decided to concentrate on the road and we are very happy to have him on the team.
Tyson Chambers is a strong rider who will play a domestique role for the 2015 team.
Cyrus Monk is just 18 years old and will be a development rider with AWSCT for 2015. He shows huge promise, reaching 10th on GC at the recent Tour of Bright.
Alex Smyth is another strong rider whose role during 2015 will be as a domestique as well as critical in the sprint lead outs.
Continuing with the team from 2014 are Jeremy Cameron, Shaun O’Callaghan and Darcy Woolley.
Jeremy Cameron has now completed three years at NRS level. He excels in races of attrition, but is a strong climber and good sprinter. The 2014 Melbourne to Warrnambool was a highlight when he came 6th from the decisive breakaway. Jeremy finished 29th overall in the 2015 Jayco Herald-Sun Tour, a very good result considering about 20 of the riders who finished above him are pro or semi-pro riders.
Shaun O’Callaghan showed his talent by placing 5th in the 2014 U23 Nationals and winning several VRS races this year. Will Walker is looking forward to harnessing his talent and giving him better direction to achieve his goals.
Darcy Woolley finished 2014 ranked the #1 rider in the VRS series. Darcy is an exceptionally strong rider with great TT results this year. As a Port Fairy club member, he aspires to win the Melbourne to Warrnambool and we expect that he is more than capable of achieving this goal.
The AWS Cycling Team aims to nurture talented young cyclists as well as to foster the sport of cycling. Its core values are “Sacrifice, Commitment, Attitude and Responsibility” and the team is committed to becoming a force within the NRS, as well as a development feeder team to the pro ranks.