LEADER: One of Pro Racing Sunshine Coast’s top riders, Michael Freiberg during the Bay Crits in Geelong. Picture: Stephen Harman
LEADER: One of Pro Racing Sunshine Coast’s top riders, Michael Freiberg during the Bay Crits in Geelong. Picture: Stephen Harman

Pro cycling team looks to virtual racing amid virus threat

CYCLING: The Sunshine Coast's professional cycling team is set to compete in the online realm, during the coronavirus pandemic.

Pro Racing Sunshine Coast, which impressed with Taj Jones at the Tour de Langkawi in Malaysia last month, have essentially been parked because of the virus threat which has gripped most of the world.

Coach Stuart Shaw said they're looking at alternative ways for their riders to stay fit and competitive.

"We had a meeting around a week and half ago about what we can do to keep the athletes motivated and chasing things," he said.

"I think if we just dropped (things) completely and had everything stopped it would just make things worse.

"There's a whole online world of bike racing.

"In the past, we've competed in a professional league, racing 17 pro teams on Zwifts, so we'll look at doing some online Esports racing.

"That's a big space and that can really give athletes a chance to still be competitive, and in a safe environment. So that's something we'll keep going with."

Shaw said the continental team's officials were working with each rider to help them adjust to the disrupted season, after their road racing and regular training schedule was scuppered because of the virus.

"Everyone would process an event like this differently," he said.

"It's about having goals. We're lucky to have many student athletes, who work with the University (of Sunshine Coast), so some of our athletes are chasing some goals they have already set and they want to keep working on those."

And for the moment, riders can still get outside for individual exercise, so they can do some mountain biking and road rides.

"Some of the guys have been chasing their personal bests (on routes) and challenging themselves to be better in themselves by racing Strava times up climbs."


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