Drapac team-mates ready to attack

DRAPAC Pro Cycling team-mates Darren Lapthorne and Lachlan Norris are aiming to do plenty of attacking in next week's Jayco Herald-Sun Tour.

Bendigo-based Lapthorne has competed in the Tour at least six times.

It will be a fourth start for Norris from Barkers Creek near Castlemaine.

Next Friday's 163km duel to Bendigo from Ballarat includes the daunting climb at Mount Alexander.

The stage will finish near Hotel Shamrock, just down from Alexandra Fountain on Pall Mall.

Riders are expected to roll into the heart of Bendigo about 2.45pm.

The five-day classic begins on Wednesday when a 2.5km individual time trial is contested from Birrarung Marr to Southbank in Melbourne.

Lapthorne and Norris will join forces with Jonathan Cantwell, John Anderson, Jordan Kerby and William Clarke in this tour.

The team has the sprinting prowess of Cantwell, Kerby's time trial skills, and hill-climbing power.

Rivals include Bendigo's young gun Jack Haig and Horsham's Mark O'Brien racing for Avanti.

The KordaMentha Real Estate-backed Team Australia includes Eaglehawk track star Glenn O'Shea, an Olympic silver medallist in the teams pursuit, world omnium champion and multiple national track titleholder.

A significant leg of the tour will be Ballarat to Bendigo on roads Lapthorne and Norris know well.

"There are some testing climbs along the way," Lapthorne said.

"Mount Alexander is really tough, but there are some hard roads to ride around Daylesford as well."

It's not just Mount Alexander where they will look to gain or make up time, but also the tour finale at Arthurs Seat on the Mornington Peninsula.

Last year's tour included a stage finish in Bendigo.

"It's great to be racing on roads we know well and before our own crowd," Norris said.

He said team morale was high following the Tour Down Under and success in the Tour of New Zealand.

The Drapac team is confident about chances of achieving stage victories and high placings in the general classificiation of the Herald-Sun Tour.

Lapthorne goes into this classic after racing Tour Down Under in South Australia.

Drapac was third in the race for the teams title.

"It was a really challenging race. The pace was on every day," Lapthorne said.

Tour Down Under winner Simon Gerrans is favourite to win a third Herald-Sun Tour title.

The Mt Alexander climb is what Norris has done many times each year.

Because of the heat, Lapthorne and Norris have been doing a lot of training early in the day.

They did so again on Saturday morning.

Training workloads vary between 500km and 1000km a week and alternate between fast-paced hit-outs on the flat and long climbs.

A year ago Lapthorne was 10th in the Jayco-backed tour and Norris was 15th.

An exciting run for Norris and his Jayco-VIS team-mates was overall victory by Calvin Watson and capturing the teams title.

Once the tour is over the focus switches to the Oceania Road titles in Queensland.

A highlight for Drapac Racing will be a Tour of California start in May. 

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