The KordaMentha Real Estate National Team is focused carefully on blending experienced riders with emerging talent to create a balanced team that features races smarts and ability whilst provided a clear pathway for the younger women looking to turn professional.
It was the KordaMentha Real Estate Team in 2018, that took out the inaugural Women’s edition of our event, with NSW rider Brodie Chapman taking out the win over reigning time trial World Champion, Annemiek van Vleuten. Chapman’s ride at our Tour secured her a spot with US outfit Team TIBCO-Sillcon Valley Bank Cycling Team in 2018, before graduating to FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope.
The 2020 edition of the men’s and women’s teams consist of a mix of the best emerging Australia riders, and experienced road racers.
KordaMentha National Team Directeur Sportif & Manager, Donna Rae-Szalinski was excited to announce their road captain for the Lexus of Blackburn Herald Sun Tour. “For the Tour, I am thrilled to announce that our go-to mentor is a rider who has just secured a contract with Canyon-SRAM for 2020 through winning the Zwift academy competition, Jessica Pratt.”
Jessica Pratt who has recently signed with CANYON//SRAM Racing after winning a spot via the Zwift Academy pathway, will be squaring up against her former team, Sydney Uni-Staminade, and her younger sister Emma. We’re looking forward to seeing a bit of friendly sibling rivalry play out on stage two, as both are strong climbers.
As this is team geared towards rider development team, a high value is placed on experience over GC results, but this squad will still be ready to tangle with the best of them should the opportunity arrive.
Rae-Szalinski added, “Our goals always focus around ‘what is a win for us’. A win for us as a development program is about learning and progression. It’s about helping the riders learn the skills to compete at an international level.
“A win for us might be we have someone in the breakaway, it might be us getting a podium. It’s not necessarily to win, however if we can create that opportunity [for a win] we will always take it.”
When asked about the importance of development programs such as the Lexus of Blackburn Herald Sun Tour, Rae-Szalinski said, “Australian rides, like the Lexus of Blackburn Herald Sun Tour, are super important – the numbers in the field when racing in Australia aren’t comparable to what you get when racing overseas, you go from racing against a field of 60-70 to 150 in Europe.
To have this opportunity where the international riders have come to us is brilliant for our development riders to get big fields and quality fields without having to pay ten thousand dollars to go to Europe. This is one of the steps in our development pathway that’s incredibly valuable.”
A rider to keep an eye out for in the bunch is Georgie Whitehouse, she had a solid block of racing with the national development team over in Europe in mid-2019, and a Tour Down Under start with the UniSa team, she understands how the pro-peloton flows, and who to keep an eye on.
The same can be said for Josie Talbot who she raced alongside of, in the August racing bloc as she will also be a leader on the road.
The men’s squad consists of some exciting emerging track endurance talent, in particular the rider who form part of the Australian Cycling Team’s Podium Potential Academy, such as Godfrey Slattery and Connor Leahy.
The purpose of opportunities such as the Korda Mentha National Team, is to provide a clear pathway to male and female riders whilst exposing them to world class racing such as the Jayco Herald Sun Tour.
The additional of Calan White who has been riding at this level for a few years, will provide strong leadership to the team and he will be able to impart invaluable race smarts on these riders.
- Jess Pratt (Canyon SRAM) – Brand new to the World Tour ranks, this 22-year-old Aussie rider came to the team via the Zwift Academy. She beat an initial field of 9000 entries to claim her spot.
- Josie Talbot (Casa Dorada WCT) – Hailing from NSW, Talbot had a stellar year with domestic team Roxsolt Attaquer, before securing her contract. She will be carrying some form after racing the full Summer of Cycling.
- Georgie Whitehouse (Sydney Uni – Staminade) – A few epics performances at the Tour Down Under, shows that she has the legs to roll with the world’s best. She’ll be playing a pivotal role in keeping the team together, and trying to grab a few sprints.
- Francesa Sewell (Roxsolt Attaquer) – The young Queensland rider is looking in strong form after nationals. A second year U19, she’ll be using this opportunity to gain experience on the road.
- Catelyn Turner (TIS) – A regular on the U19 podium at Nationals, the Taswegian is a very strong individual rider and will benefit from having a team to support her.
- Chloe Moran (SASI) – A regular on the domestic circuit. In 2019 she took back-to-back titles in the Cycling South Australia Super Series over some of Australia’s best racers.
- Carter Turnbull (InForm TM Insight MAKE) – An absolute powerhouse for his NRS team InForm TM Insight MAKE in 2019, he nabbed a bronze in the U23 time trial at nationals. One to keep an eye on.
- Rudy Porter (InForm TM Insight MAKE) – Two top ten finishes in the U23 road race and time trial show us that he is in great form. A DNF at last year’s edition of our Tour, which means he’ll be hungry in 2020 to make an impact.
- Godfrey Slattery (Podium Potential Academy / InForm TM Insight MAKE) – Part of the Australian Cycling Team’s ‘Podium Potential Academy’, he’ll be using this opportunity to hone his craft.
- Connor Leahy (Podium Potential Academy / InForm TM Insight MAKE) – Conor Leahy had an impressive ride to finish in 2nd in the U23 crit at Nationals, he packs a mean sprint and will be a key worker for the team.
- Mark O’Brien (InForm TM Insight MAKE) – A few podium appearances at the continental championships show that he has what it takes to roll with the best Oceania has to offer.
- David Williams (InForm TM Insight MAKE) – A top 20 finish in the U23 road race at nationals early in the month, the team will be utilising him as a solid worker.
- Calan White (Creuse Oxygene Gueret) – Riding at a conti level for a few years now, this youngster took 10th in the U23 road race at Nationals.