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Great shot from stage 7 of the bunch behind! Twitter profile for An Post Ras 2015

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Morgan Smith – My Head was on the Job

by Ed Wright – RoadCycling

Yesterday he was in the day’s breakaway until the very last, and even then his never say die attitude saw him make a last chance gasp for victory alone.  We caught up with Morgan Smith as he continues on with the 2015 An Post Ras in Ireland.

19 May 2015; Morgan Smith, Team Subaru-Albion, in action during Stage 3 of the 2015 An Post Rás.  Picture credit: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE

19 May 2015; Morgan Smith, Team Subaru-Albion, in action during Stage 3 of the 2015 An Post Rás. Picture credit: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE

Yesterday saw Morgan Smith line up with a breakaway opportunity in mind.  He got his chance on the 155.9km stage from Tipperary to Beama and didn’t look back.  “It did take a while but we were still out there for a fair haul around a 100km I think,” Morgan told RoadCycling.  In fact it took more than 50km before Morgan’s move finally went clear.

Interestingly one of the characteristics that has become somewhat typical of the great Irish race, is that the An Post Ras has this reputation of being extremely aggressive and unpredictable.  We asked Morgan about that – as a number of riders had tried and failed to go clear before he finally made it – about what it’s like being in a peloton that’s so . . . . unstable?  “Early on it’s hectic with everyone trying to get away. It reminds me of [Tour of] Southland just more depth,” Morgan explained.  “One thing here are the cats eyes.  They make being in the bunch that bit more interesting.”

Being in the break, Morgan was blessed not just with good timing in getting into the right move, but also with getting into the move with the right people.  Morgan was in the company of Louth Team Asea’s Roger Aiken, Anthony Walsh and Sean McKenna of CorkAquaBlue, Jimmy Janssens of Team 3M and Marc Potts of Down Nth Powerhouse Sport.  “The boys went pretty hard early and we kept working together well.  One guy in particular was very strong,” Morgan said.  “Towards the end we started attacking but I think the long straight highway from about 20kms out was against us.”

With the long straight highway came headwinds that certainly did not help the break’s cause.  But Morgan wasn’t done as he opted to attack one last time.  “My head was on the job. I thought if we could get to the 10km mark 1-1.30mins up we would go close.  You always hope.  You have to, 1/6 is better than 1/200,” he told us.  Is anyone else hearing a bit of a Voigt-like resemblance?

While Morgan’s last ditch move didn’t last, with himself and the breakaway group being caught 2km out from the finish it is a good sign of things to come, with Morgan’s aim for the rest of the race being crystal clear.  “I’m here to have a crack,” he said.  “So [I’ll] keep trying to be in the right place at the right time.”

Stay tuned for more from Morgan as the An Post Ras continues.  You can check out our full race report from stage 3 of An Post Ras here.

Ed Wright – Roadcycling

 

 

Morgan Smith: feeling good

March 28th, ’15.  Morgan Smith has had a bit of a bumper start to 2015.  After his 3rd place in the prologue time trial of the New Zealand Cycle Classic opened up a solid week of racing in the North Island, Smith is getting ready to hit the ground running at the Adelaide Tour next month.  RoadCycling had a chat with him.

As Morgan gets set to get stuck in to the international season that 2015 is set to bring, he’s in good spirits; things just seem to be going right.  “I’m feeling really good actually. I was ready to kick things off at NZCC so since then I’ve dialed it back a bit and now I’m starting to build up the speed ahead of my next few races,” Morgan said.  “The best thing I guess is that I’m enjoying my riding at the moment.”

Morgan has been racing in Australia and New Zealand already this year, with the New Zealand Cycle Classic being a real eye opener for him.  “It was a different experience riding for GC and I learnt a lot of lessons very quickly,” Morgan told RoadCycling.  “I felt good in the lead up so I wanted to put that to good use, and getting a result in the prologue was a good start. I made a couple bad decisions and that cost me but the confidence I got from the race was key.”

Following on from that it was a journey across the Tasman to take on the Oceania Road Race Championships.  While Avanti Racing’s Taylor Gunman rode to the win it was a bit more of a relaxed race for Smith.  “Oceanias was a bit of a bunch ride to be honest, we had young Richard Lawson up in the break for most of the race.  Once the big teams didn’t want to pull it back it was just a case of staying up the front out of trouble. Some of the team weren’t so lucky and got caught up in crashes,” Morgan mentioned.

This year Morgan is racing for the Subaru Albion team having moved over from the Charter Mason squad.  “I’m stoked to be a part of Team Subaru Albion for 2015. They snapped me up when I was available and I’m enjoying my time with them,” Morgan told us.  “They have already given me a great opportunity at NZCC and we are off to another international UCI race shortly. It’s a great family to be a part of with a big band of sponsors and support up in Sydney.”

The make up of Subaru Albion is diverse but they’ve got a clear vision and an exciting schedule coming up that will see them travel around the globe.  “Frank Conceicao [Director of Sport] was clear to me about the team and the direction they have. It’s a development team with a mix of experience, youngsters, and guys like me looking to take that next step,” Morgan explained.  “I was very keen to work with Frank and the team as I feel us riders can learn a lot here at Subaru Albion.  Plus there’s a few kiwis!”  The Subaru Albion Development Team includes fellow Kiwis Darcy-Ellerm Norton, Richard Lawson, Adam Bull and Daniel Molyneux.

Morgan has ambitions for both on and off the bike as he looks ahead to what the rest of 2015 will bring.  One of Morgan’s big highlights is set to be the upcoming trip to Ireland.  “I’m looking forward to The Ras in Ireland and I’m hoping to arrive in good condition,” he said.  “Of course performing in the NRS throughout the year, and later on getting back to the Tour of Southland [are goals too].  We also have some very strong guys in the squad, so to help them achieve their goals as well during the year is high up on the list.”  Life away from the bike brings its exciting prospects too.  “Off the bike I’ll be looking to help the younger guys realise how big of an opportunity the team has given them and help them as well as the team take that next step.”

Next up on the agenda for Morgan is the Jayco Adelaide Tour from the 9th-12th April.  From there it’s over to Ireland for the Ras before spending time in Belgium prior to the trip back Down Under.  One thing’s for sure, 2015 is going to be big, really big and we’re excited about seeing how the year progresses as Morgan looks to take the next step in his cycling career.

Stay tuned for more info as his season progresses.

By:  Ed Wright – Roadcycling

via Morgan Smith: feeling good. roadcycling.co.nz

Ambitious Swedish and Australian teams announced for An Post Rás

Ambitious Swedish and Australian teams announced for An Post Rás.

Former professional Thomas Löfkvist will manage 2010 An Post Rás winner, Alex Wetterhall and four other riders in May’s edition of the race, aiming to deliver a second race victory to 28 year old Wetterhall.

The Tre Berg – Bianchi squad is one of two teams announced today, taking part in the race, which begins in Dunboyne, Co. Meath on May 17th. The Swedish Continental-level squad will be joined by the Australian club team Subaru Albion, which also has ambitious goals for the event.

While the line up is yet to be finalised, Löfkvist said: “We come to race for an overall victory and to hunt for stages. Alexander Wetterhall will be our leader.”

Wetterhall is likely to be joined by two-time Swedish criterium champion Sebastian Balck and Lucas Eriksson, who in turn placed sixth and seventh at the Junior World Championships in 2013 and 2014.

The other two places on the team may go to 2013 Memorial Pigoni Coli runner-up Kim Magnusson and Niklas Gustavsson, who was third in the 2012 London Nocturne.

Löfkvist will use his considerable racing experience to guide the squad through the 2015 edition. He rode the Rás himself in 2003, forging a successful professional career with top teams including Team High Road and Team Sky. His results include overall victory in the 2013 Tour of the Mediterranean with Team IAM Cycling.

Already familiar with Irish roads, the Australian Subaru Albion team arrive in Ireland in mid-April and will compete in the Tour of Ulster and the Shay Elliott Memorial as a build up to starting An Post Rás on May 17th.

“As this is our third year riding the Rás, we will definitely be looking for a stage win,” said David Early, who will be working with the team. “I know that one of the guys has earmarked the first stage as a possibility and Anthony Murray is looking to improve on last year’s result. He is targeting a top ten overall in the GC (general classification).”

Murray finished 23rd overall last year and was also 7th overall in the Rás Mumhan.

The team will be led by the 2013 Sydney road champion Keegan Aitchison, who has ridden the race twice before.

2013 New Zealand Under-23 Road Champion, Richard Lawson is chasing a stage win in his Rás debut, while Dave Logue Classic winner, Daniel Molyneaux and Morgan Smith are also likely to be part of the line up.

Early says Smith has only been cycling for three years and describes him as ‘somewhat of a wild child,’ but points out that he finished sixth overall in this year’s Tour of New Zealand.

“You never really know which Morgan will turn up. He could do a Gary Thompson,” he said, referring to the former Irish Olympian and Rás runner-up, “and either tear your legs off, or lose twenty minutes and throw his bike into the ditch.”

The two teams will join the recently-announced Hrinkow Advarics CYcleanG squad in the race. That team will be led by last year’s race winner Clemens Fankhauser.

The 2015 An Post Rás will begin in Dunboyne on May 17th and will feature stage finishes in Carlow, Tipperary, Bearna, Newport, Ballina, Ballinamore, Drogheda and Skerries.

It will total almost 1200 kilometres in length and will include 21 categorised climbs.

Original article on Anpost Ras Web Site

Morgan Smith – belief the boys had in me was awesome

by Ed Wright – Roadcycling

Stage 1 – Morgan SmithMorgan Smith took third place in the opening prologue time trial, photo providedJan 28th, ’15. In brand new team colours for 2015, Morgan Smith rode to a brilliant third place in the opening prologue time trial of the NZCT Cycle Classic. Afterwards the Subaru Albion rider took time out to speak to RoadCycling about the ride and the road to here.

After his 2014 season with Charter Mason, 2015 has brought a new opportunity with Subaru Albion, and as Morgan told us it’s a chance he’s looking forward to. “Subaru Albion picked me up and I’m very happy to be here. The opportunities that they offer with their schedule are great and hopefully I can make the most of the ones I get,” Morgan told RoadCycling. “Also I think I can help the team develop and take the next step. This is my first outing with them and the team culture is great. The belief the boys had in me today was awesome.”

On the first day of his first outing Morgan has certainly made a big impression. Morgan’s third place finish in the prologue put him just 10 seconds behind stage winner Joseph Cooper and one tenth of a second behind Cooper’s teammate Fraser Gough. It was a great ride from Morgan, with there being another two seconds of daylight to fourth placed Daniel Barry. But as he explains to us, his journey to the podium today was pretty straightforward really. “With today being so short there wasn’t much tactics involved, just tried to go as hard as I could. For me the start and mostly the turn would be where it would be won or lost. I went out hard and coming into the turn I thought I was going ok. I chopped down the gears but still creeped out of it,” he said.

The prologue was the big goal for Smith in this year’s race and with mission accomplished it’s now a case of . . . . what next? “I came here after a good result in the prologue so much so that it doesn’t seem that big of a deal now that it happened,” Morgan admitted. “Today was the key target for me. For the rest of the week we will just wait and see what happens. There are still 5 days and it can get nasty here. Only time will tell!”

Stay tuned for more updates from the New Zealand Cycle Classic. Check out our race report from today’s stage.

via Morgan Smith – belief the boys had in me was awesome.

Chaos

Having been away as much as I’ve been home in the last month the days are starting to elude me.

Lying in the back of the ambulance after crashing out at the Tour of Murray the paramedic asked me if I knew what day it was. I looked at him in disbelief. “Mate I didn’t know what day it was before I started this morning”, I’m not sure if he knew I was serious or thought I was being a smart ass. Either way I couldn’t care less, after getting into the break I dropped myself at 60kmph. It wasn’t what I had planned that day, at one point I asked the first people at my side to get me my bike. There wasn’t much of a response.

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It was too late, head butting the road had wiped all plans I had pictured, instead it was off to the hospital for stitches and x-rays.
I was devastated.
I tried to not let that show though, after all I had gotten off pretty lucky with only 55… oh sorry 5 stitches in my forehead and a small grade 1 separation in my AC.

Lying in my hospital bed overnight my main aim for the next day was to somehow get back on tour. I had to push aside my disappointment, even though they wouldn’t let me continue I could still help the boys off the bike.

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The day after my crash. Heading back on tour!

The week following I was back out on the road training accompanied with some altitude training down at AMMI Park.
Recovery was on the cards and the next week I was back off up to the Tour of Great South Coast. We had a successful tour up at Murray with Raph the German 2nd overall and taking out the sprint classification. However GSC became our best tour so far with 3 stage wins (SJ, Raph, Josh), Raph 3rd on GC, and the team taking out the teams classification. Yeaah Man!

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In between all these tours behind the scenes has been just as chaotic. With MRIs, an X-ray, numerous doctor and specialist visits, and managing an ingrown big toe nail. If you think that is gross I won’t mention what the MRI and X-ray was for! But with two weeks of solid training my focus now turns to the tour of Gippsland. A hillier tour than the previous two and a strong field to take the start line, it should prove to be some aggressive racing.

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Racing is what I’m looking forward to, so thanks for all the support and the help to get me back on the bike so quickly.
The race starts Wednesday and goes through to Sunday. Bring it on!

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The wolf pack!

An Invitation

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Coopy Doopy, Muscles, and Morgzracer

As most of you know around 11 months ago I ventured on to foreign soil for the first time. Waking up at 4am flying into Melbourne then hopping in the Drapac van for a 6hr drive up to Mildura on the Monday. The next day I lined up with the CharterMason boys for 155km first stage of the 6 day Tour of Murray River.

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One of our new initiatives ‘a cold death’

Since then a lot has changed. With support from my friends and family I’ve moved to Melbourne and continued racing for CharterMason.
After a two month break in the NRS tomorrow is the stage one of the Tour of Murray River for 2014. So I thought it would be a good time to reflect since I was here last. We go into tomorrow with high hopes for the week. I’m ready to ‘lay it on the line’, ‘shred some skin’, ’empty the tank’ or whatever they say for our team leader who has supported me along with ‘Coopy Doopy’ and ‘Giraffe’ while trying to settle in. In such a sort time I’ve been lucky to see the guys in the team evolve and grow as cyclists and people. I have no doubts that this team can do something special before the year is out.

Not only have I seen the team blossom over the last couple months behind the scenes there has been a massive amount of planning set in motion. I think we have doubled in the amount of staff and the motivation surrounding the team has gone through the roof. It’s driven by our hands on team owner Leigh Parsons. You can tell the guy is passionate, really enjoys his project and has big dreams just by talking shop with him. Now I’m not one to grease but rather tell it how I see it and give credit where it’s due.

A good friend recently told me I share my passion with those around me. If you have read this and don’t want to jump on your bike then read it again. As we start the second half of the season which is jam packed and may even include one or two stints back home I invite you to:

Tighten you shoes..

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Pull on your gloves..

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Strap on your helmet,

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And join in with the CharterMason community because its going to be fast, fifthly, exhausting and painful.
But I wouldn’t have it any other way..

Morgzracer