Excitement builds for 2017

True, 2016 may still have few races left in it yet, including the upcoming Tour of Bright. But we’re excited to say the 2017 season is already shaping as the biggest and best in the five-year history of AMR Renault Racing with several important pieces now firmly in place. 

 

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Luigi and the team at AMR Renault have been long-term supporters and we’re thrilled to have them back in 2017, ensuring we’ll continue to have the best team cars in the NRS convoy for a third successive season.

Australia’s #1 online cycling retailer, Pushys, are pumped to be returning for a second season and will once again play a significant role in backing the team with bikes, gear and service support during 2017.

Our affiliate CA club since day one, Lidcombe-Auburn Cycling Club, are back and together we’re looking to create even stronger links in 2017 and beyond, both with the LACC juniors (who are flying right now, just quietly!) and the wider Club member base.

“Since the team began back in 2012 we’ve never been in such an advanced position at this stage of the off-season.” Team Director Russell Menzies.

“It’s a testament to the riders and what they’ve been able to achieve, but also to the commitment and passion of our sponsors. They’re just as excited about the path we’re on right now as we are ourselves. Just as it is with cycling teams at every level of the sport globally, their support is just so important. They make it all possible each season, and we’re hugely grateful for everything they do. We can’t wait to repay their faith in 2017.”

While the details are still being finalised, the bulk of the Team’s other 2016 sponsors also look set to return, which is clearly more great news. Watch this space…and watch this team!

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Ding! Ding!

AMR Renault to race G2I with bells in world-first sponsorship deal

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The first race of the 2016 National Road Series may still be five weeks away. But the team at AMR Renault Racing is delighted to announce a world-first sponsorship deal – albeit a somewhat unusual one.

In the deal inked with Canberra-based online cycling retailer and team sponsor, Pushys.com.au, the entire AMR Renault Racing squad will race with all-new HideMyBell integrated Garmin mounts fitted to their Cannondale Super Six Evo’s in the time-honoured 228km Grafton to Inverell Classic on May 7.

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Hide My Bell is fully integrated into a Garmin mount.
“I think we all laughed a bit at first, that’s actually why we decided to announce this on April 1st,” explains Team Director Russell Menzies. “But when you stop and think, it makes plenty of sense. Bicycle bells have been mandatory here in NSW for years now. But since the start of March the fines have risen and the police have been far more active in actually enforcing it, along with other things like reflectors. Safety has always been paramount to us, and we want to set a good example to the wider community. It’s also about solidarity. If everyday riders and club cyclists have to do it, we can do it too. Besides, HideMyBell has a fully integrated design and only weighs a few extra grams.”

According to Shane Wolki, Founder and Owner of Pushys, his company couldn’t be happier with the arrangement. “Bells mightn’t be seen as the most desirable piece of cycling kit we stock, but they’re an important safety device. And if the law says you have to have one, I’d say HideMyBell is a pretty good option. As far as we know this is the first bell sponsorship deal for an elite cycling team anywhere in the world.”

To celebrate the new deal Pushys is offering a 20% discount on all bell purchases until April 20. Just enter the code word BELL at the online checkout.

www.pushys.com.au

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AMR Renault returns in 2016

We’re delighted to announce AMR Renault will continue its association with the team for a second year, after reaffirming its commitment for the 2016 road racing season, including the National Road Series.

 

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“The team has had a fantastic year in 2015 with AMR Renault on board,” said a delighted Team Director, Russell Menzies. “We’ve made huge strides in the past 12 months as a squad and are on the cusp of even bigger things next season. The continued commitment from Luigi and the team at AMR Renault is a hugely important part of achieving that. The team cars have been superb and even better the guys also love their cycling – and rest assured we love them too!”

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As was the case for the 2015 season – when the team received the keys to a bespoke Renault Megane wagon and Trafic commercial van, a key part of the 2016 AMR Renault sponsorship will again include the provision of official team vehicles – a vital contribution given the very nature of the NRS involves vast amounts of time on the road each season.

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According to Menzies, beyond AMR Renault’s continued sponsorship a series of new partners will be announced for 2016 in the coming weeks.

“Success breeds success, no question,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of interest following our results this season, especially in the second half of the year, both from potential sponsors, suppliers and riders. The quality of contacts has been sky high too, which is always a nice position to be in. As things are finalised we’ll be releasing the news, so stay tuned!”

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AMR Renault is based at Haberfield in Sydney’s inner west.

 

Jacarandas, Sapphires & Bikes : G2I 2015

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It’s been an exciting second half of the season for AMR Renault Racing, and this Saturday the team will round out its involvement in the 2015 National Road Series with the time-honoured Grafton to Inverell Classic. It will be our second involvement in the famously gruelling race that begins at sea level under a blanket of purple in the Jacaranda City of Grafton, climbs the 1,100m Gibraltar Range, traverses constant undulations en route to Glen Innes before ending 228km from the coast in the Sapphire City of Inverell.

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2014 G2I combatants Matt Slee and Aaron Watts will return once again, where they will be joined by Ben Carman, Tim Cameron and guest rider Matt Rizutto. In a nice piece of history Saturday will also see the team boast not one but two Inverell-based riders for the first time, with the experienced John Freiberg to be joined by G2I debutant Dylan Sunderland, fresh from his maiden ride in last weekend’s Melbourne to Warnambool.
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One of the more motivated riders in the elite field will no doubt be our very own Matt Slee. In one of the biggest shows of courage and determination we’ve ever seen on two wheels, Matty spent more than half of last year’s G2I in the race-winning breakaway alongside eventual winner Sean Lake, only to have his ambitions cruelled by Di2 shifting troubles which left him stuck in one agonising gear for more than 100km. He was only reeled in by the bunch in the closing stages and still recorded a highly respectable time. Hopefully with a far smoother ride, Matty can exorcise some demons in 2015.
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No gears? No problems for Matty Slee in 2014.
While G2I marks the end of the NRS for 2015 the team will continue to make its presence felt in the final months of the year at the Wollongong and Noosa Crits, as well as the 2015 Tour of Bright.

100th Melbourne to Warrnambool

This Saturday marks the historic 100th running of the 279km Melbourne to Warrnambool Classic. One of the oldest road races still in existence anywhere in the world (only Liege-Bastogne-Liege has been around longer), AMR Renault Racing is proud to be sending a full squad of seven to the start line in Werribee. Team captain Kris Johnston was our highest place finisher in the 2014 race, and returns along with ‘Warney’ debutant, Toby Orchard, to bolster the nucleus from our hugely successful squad at last week’s Jayco Tour of Tasmania. It will be a tough day in the saddle, but one the guys are really looking forward to.

 

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Sam Miranda Tour of the King Valley

AMR Renault Racing will send a strong squad of six to next week’s Sam Miranda Tour of the King Valley (NRS) in Victoria.

 

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2015 regulars Tim Cameron, Aaron Watts and U23 Toby Orchard will be at the start line in the famed wine region, together with team captain Kris Johnston who’ll be making his season debut – his first NRS race since becoming a dad earlier this year. The quartet will be joined by two highly-credentialed guest riders from Queensland, John Freiberg and Ben Carman.

After training alongside current team-members Aaron Watts and Dylan Sunderland since a recent move to Inverell, former Budget Forklifts rider John Freiberg brings with him a wealth of NRS and international riding experience that saw him riding across Europe for the elite Italian squad Team Parolin when still just U19. John has also placed in the top 10 at both U23 and Elite level at the Australian National Road Championships. Most recently he’s been competing in the 2015 QLD Road Series.

John Freiberg competing in round one of this year's QLD Road Series.
John Freiberg competing in round one of this year’s QLD Road Series.

Former Queensland U19 Road Champion and National U19 bronze medallist Ben Carman also joins the squad for the trip to Victoria. Still an U23, Ben has raced internationally in both Europe and Asia. He’s also lined up in multiple NRS events over the past few seasons. He’s recently returned from a racing stint overseas and prior to that was also competing in the 2015 QLD Road Series.

Ben Carman, winning.
Ben Carman, winning.

The 4-stage Sam Miranda Tour of the King Valley begins next Friday, 21 August, with a short individual time trial at Whitfield, south of Wangaratta.

AMR Renault Racing Squad:
Kris Johnston
Tim Cameron
Aaron Watts
Toby Orchard
John Freiberg (guest)
Ben Carman (guest)

NRS Review: Tour of Toowoomba & Battle on the Border

The recent NRS double header saw the guys race at the Tour of Toowoomba and Battle on the Border. Here’s a review of how it all went…

 

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The AMR Renault Racing Team opened up their 2015 NRS season with the Tour of Toowoomba and Battle on the Border double. After opting to skip the earlier Perth and Adelaide tours, we had a motivated group of seven riders, equipped with brand-new Ridleys courtesy of Bike Bug, itching to get stuck into our first NRS race of the year.

First up was Toowoomba and the boys, based at Jolly Swagman Motel, had a bit of a rough week. The team made a conservative start to a tough two weeks of racing, despite missing the decisive break on the opening stage they finished strongly in the front part of the peloton.

From day two things started to turn slightly pear shaped. After a solid performance from Matt Slee in the mornings TT, the afternoon’s 167km road stage was where it all happened. The Peloton had to contend with strong winds, lumpy terrain and challenging gravel sections. A bit of bad luck and positioning saw Josh, Dylan and Toby hit the deck in the late stages of the race, ending their chances to contest the finish. Tim finished strongly just 25 secs behind the winner after the peloton blew to pieces over the final climb and gravel roads.

There were glimpses of what the team is capable of on a very challenging stage four. Strong riding from Matt and Tim and a late attack from Josh netted him a 14th place on the stage, however the bad luck for Dylan continued as he crashed again, ending his tour while Cam and Toby also had to abandon. This left the team with only four riders, not particularly suited to the final stage criterium but we were involved in some of the breaks regardless. At the end of the 5 stages, Tim was our best placed on GC in 38th and we made the trip to the coast for the Battle on the Border with a few battered bodies and bikes.

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Checking into Crystal Beach apartments in Tugan was a great result before the Battle even started. With spacious beachfront rooms the team enjoyed a relaxing three days and the same seven riders started the Battle on the Boarder in great shape.

The opening stage provided a confidence boost, getting three riders to the top of Mt Warning ahead of all but two teams! Tim and Josh finished 11th and 13th respectively with Dylan not far behind. This put AMR Renault Racing into 3rd on the overall team’s classification which we held until the final day.

Throughout stage 2 and 3 the team rode aggressively, getting involved in the majority of the breaks. Particularly Aaron, Matt and Dylan sniffing opportunities for stage success, unfortunately none quite paying off. A standout performance was Toby Orchard in his first year in the NRS working tirelessly for the team collecting bottles and finishing 11th in a fast stage 3 sprint into Murwillumbah.

Going into the final day’s TT and criterium, Tim and Josh were both eyeing top 10 spots on GC, but unfortunately slipping to 12th and 15th respectively. (the team ultimately finished 5th on the overal classification, a solid result).

There were a huge amount of positives from the past two weeks, becoming tighter as a team with every race. Matt, Aaron and Cam were always in the mix at the pointy end of the peloton. Dylan and Toby, who are barely 19 stepped up to much longer NRS distances with ease. Tim and Josh showing they have the experience and capability for overall top 10’s. This gives us plenty to look forward to when the NRS returns in Spring.

A big thanks to our support team Russell, Kris and Pete Sunderland for taking time off work and away from their families to support us. And to all our sponsors AMR Renault, Bikebug, Piazza D’Oro, Lidcombe-Auburn CC, Tineli, Cellarbrations, Signwave and Active Supps.

High hopes for FKG Tour of Toowoomba

AMR Renault Racing will make its 2015 National Road Series debut in the FKG Tour of Toowoomba starting tomorrow.

After skipping the first two races on the NRS calendar in Perth and Adelaide, a full squad of seven riders has been assembled for the four-day five-stage tour. With several riders showing excellent early season form, led by kiwi Josh Aldridge and the rapidly-maturing Dylan Sunderland from nearby Inverell, expectations are high for 2015 – especially after the team surprised plenty in its first full season in the NRS in 2014.

“We’re going into Toowoomba with high expectations this year,” said AMR Renault Racing Team Director Russell Menzies. “We’ve been there before, we know the roads, and with a core of really strong and in-form riders I’d go as far as saying we’re looking for a top team position. We did it in Tasmania last year, so that’s not out of reach. Who knows? Maybe even a podium or two, certainly high finishing places on the stages.”

AMR _ Tour of Toowoomba 2015

Looking towards this race and the following week’s Battle on the Border, Menzies sees the versatility within the 2015 squad as a major strength. “We have several genuine cards to play this season, which is a great position to be in. All the guys are stronger for the experience of 2014. Obviously we’re expecting guys like Josh and Dylan to be thereabouts, but even guys like Matt Slee and Tim Cameron. They can really make their presence felt and it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest to see them right in the thick of things. It’s also great to see a young guy like Toby Orchard step up to make his NRS debut, he’s been with us for a couple of seasons now and it’s time for him to show what he’s made of.”

Stage One of the FKG Tour of Toowoomba is an undulating 153km road race from Nobby to Highfields. It will be followed by a double stage day on Friday, with a 9km Individual Time Trial in the morning and a 162km road race in the afternoon before the Tour reaches its finale with another two stages over the weekend, including the now-traditional Sunday criterium around Queens Park.

 

Squad for FKG Tour of Toowoomba:
Joshua Aldridge, Dylan Sunderland, Matt Slee, Aaron Watts, Tim Cameron, Cameron Fraser, Toby Orchard (NRS debut).

Team Managers: Kris Johnston & Peter Sunderland
Team Director: Russell Menzies

FKG Tour of Toowoomba