Norris powers along with Drapac again

BARKERS Creek cycling star Lachlan Norris is aiming to shine with Drapac's team once again.

After spending most of 2013 racing with Raleigh in Europe, Norris has rejoined Drapac.

The 17-rider squad includes Bendigo cyclists Darren Lapthorne and Robbie Hucker.

The first major hit-out for Drapac, which now has Pro Continental status, was last weekend's Australian road cycling titles in and near Ballarat.

An 183.6km contest, which included 18 laps of the Buninyong circuit ended with Lapthorne in sixth place as "big guns" Simon Gerrans, Cadel Evans and Richie Porte won gold, silver and bronze.

Drapac's great run included Travis Meyer at 11th, Wesley Sulzberger 15th, Bernard Sulzberger at 16th, Norris at 18th, and Hucker in 26th place.

Although they did not achieve a top-three placing, the Drapac line-up showed plenty.

"Darren Lapthorne rode brilliantly to be sixth," Norris said on Monday.

"We knew he would do well," he said of the 2007 national road champion's skill.

Norris said the Drapac squad had a great battle with Orica GreenEDGE.

"They had just a bit too much power for us at the end. Gerrans, Evans and Porte showed just how classy they are.

"The field for this national road title was  the strongest I have raced against."

The focus has quickly switched to this Sunday's start to the Tour Down Under in South Australia.

Norris is a reserve for the tour, but will be in Adelaide on Friday for the team presentation.

He rejoined Drapac at the start of the year and is eagerly awaiting next month's Jayco-backed Herald Sun Tour.

The classic will be contested from February 5 to 9 and includes a stage from Ballarat to Bendigo and going over roads and hills that Norris knows well.

For Norris it will be a fourth start in the Tour.

His most recent tour campaign in the Jayco-VIS colours ended in team victory.

Although there were fluctuating fortunes throughout last year's racing in Euorpe, Norris said he learnt a lot.

"There was a lot of criterium racing and some tours."

The biggest highlight was a Tour of Britain start.

"Not a lot went right for our team in that race."

Most of the Raleigh team's racing was centred on the United Kingdom or in France.

Now back at Drapac, Norris said racing goals in 2014 included the Asian classics and races in the United States.

The 26-year-old is also aiming to race in the time trial at the Oceania championships.

An Australian representative at multiple world mountain bike campaigns, Norris said his focus for this year was squarely on road cycling.

The cyclist's feats over the years have earned monthly awards in the Bendigo Advertiser Sports Star of the Year.

The long-running awards are proudly backed by Bendigo Bank and WIN Television.

As 2014 rolls on, Lachlan Norris will be chasing individual and team success with Drapac Pro Cycling on roads around the world.

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