Masters cycling champions keen to build new pathway with Dhuez Racing

FRESH form winning multiple national titles, Lake Macquarie cyclists Ben Neppl and Johnathan Millington already have their sights set on a world masters championship next year in Manchester.

ROAD TO SUCCESS: National masters champions Johnathan Millington and Ben Neppl. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

ROAD TO SUCCESS: National masters champions Johnathan Millington and Ben Neppl. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

And from this weekend, the pair will be able to prepare with a little help from some friends.

Neppl and Millington are part of the new Dhuez Racing team, which have their first outing on Saturday at Hunter District Cycling Club’s Orica Kermese at Hunter Economic Zone, Kurri Kurri.

Team manager David Donnelly said Dhuez Racing was formed in recent weeks to help a group of Hunter and Central Coast riders “work together rather than slogging it out alone”.

In a short time, the team has 12 riders, including under-23 national cyclocross champion Chris Aitken and Mick Curran, who is a world champion pilot in para-cycling tandem and road racing.

Neppl and Millington are looking to build on their national masters success two weeks ago in Melbourne.

Millington, racing in the 30-34 years division, won the scratch race and was part of the all-age team pursuits win alongside Neppl, Matt Walker, Dane Crawford and Andrew Giovanetti. Neppl won the scratch and points races and the individual pursuit in the 40-44 division.

The teams pursuit win was a first for a Hunter line-up.

“Now our thoughts are to worlds and to see if we can crack a world record in Los Angeles this year or in Manchester the next year,” Neppl said. 

While the masters riders in Dhuez are looking to their immediate goals, they are also keen to help the next generation of riders.

“It’s to develop a pathway forward for some of the younger riders and I suppose this provides the ground work and infrastructure for that sort of mentor program,” Neppl said.

Neppl has seen other Hunter teams come and go over the years but believed “this one will probably stick”.

“It’s got some fairly good pedigree in there at the moment and we’ve already started the plan for some younger riders, a more of a development side we’ve got sitting beneath us, so it’s already got some depth to it,” he said.

The team will compete in all state open events with a short-term focus on the Blayney to Bathurst next month before state and national championship campaigns across time trials, criterium and road races.

Donnelly said the team had already raised some eyebrows with the calibre of rider they had attracted and he was “excited by the potential”.

It’s got some fairly good pedigree in there at the moment and we’ve already started the plan for some younger riders

Ben Neppl