CAMPERDOWN cyclist Dylan Hately will test himself against some of the best riders in Australia when he lines up for next month’s Jayco Herald Sun Tour.
Hately is one of six riders representing domestic team Target-Trek in the four-day tour in Victoria from January 3 to 6.
The 24-year-old sprinter will contest the coveted tour for the first time and said he was aiming for a “respectable” finish.
The Herald Sun Tour berth comes on the back of a big year for Hately, who signed with John West Cycling in December last year.
He contested about half a dozen National Road Series events, with his best result a top-10 finish in the Tour of the Great South Coast in August.
The sponsorship-driven world of the sport meant John West Cycling folded in late October, with team manager Murray Crawford creating Target-Trek in its place.
Hately was one of seven riders retained for the new team. Now he wants to repay the faith with a strong showing in next month’s event.
“It’s obviously more team-oriented racing. You have to sacrifice yourself for the team,” he said.
“It’s all about the team getting a result. If we could pull off some top 10s maybe, that’d be a good result.
“You never know, with a bit of luck.”
Hately said team tactics had been the biggest learning curve since he signed with John West Cycling.
He said riding for a greater purpose came with “a lot more pressure and expectation”.
“If you go to a race as an individual and you don’t perform, there’s no one asking questions or looking and saying ‘why? What’s going on?’,” he said.
“In a team, there’s always that bit of extra pressure to perform well.”
And perform he has.
Crawford yesterday had high praise for Hately and what he had been able to achieve for the team.
“Dylan, I class him as a sprinter in the team,” he said. “At the end of the day, it’s a bit of reward for time and effort. I know he’s been training hard.”
Crawford said the Herald Sun Tour was one of the most prestigious cycling events in Australia.
He said Hately would have a role picking up as many sprint points as possible.
“It’ll be a very hard tour. His role would be looking at the sprints along the way and looking at the opportunities to get into breaks and work to his strengths,” he said.
“That’s the most important thing for any rider, not just Dylan. You have to work to your strengths and always be positive and believe in yourself.”