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eptember 1, 2011
IF YOU see a cyclist training
frantically in the Mt Lofty Ranges
overlooking Adelaide, it might
just be reigning Defence road
champion FLTLT Damon Stefani.
In a bid to get his body right for
this year's titles in Sydney from
September 15 to 17, FLTLT Damon
Stefani, of RAAF Base Edinburgh,
has set himself a punishing target of
riding up to 300km a week.
Two or three times a week he
rides his bike 35km from home to
work and at weekends he and some
mates from the base head for the
hills and major pain.
You can probably blame Cadel
Evans for this.
If Evans had not won this year's
Tour de France, FLTLT Stefani might
have stuck to his plan to sit this one out.
He has had a busy work schedule
this year, with short deployments to the
Cocos Islands and American Samoa
and 10 weeks in Dallas, Texas, where
he assisted on the Project Coronis P-3
He took his bike over to the US.
He did not compete in any races but
he trained through January, February
and March, including in seven-
times Tour de France winner Lance
Armstrong's home town of Austin,
It was Evans becoming the first
Australian to win the tour, though,
which provided the impetus for him to
"I watched just about all the
stages of the tour on telly as it was
an enthralling race and I could sense
Australian sporting history being
made," FLTLT Stefani said.
"I'm now more than motivated
towards experiencing some suffering
on the roads around Adelaide to gain
some form in preparation for the
It left him with only seven to eight
weeks to get into peak condition and
whether that will prepare him well
enough to handle the gruelling ups and
downs of the 84km road race in Royal
National Park remains to be seen.
The road race only partly counts
towards the overall championship.
To be crowned the champion, riders
also have to do well in the 39km time
trial at Holsworthy Barracks and the
50 minutes plus two laps criterium at
the Sutherland Shire Cycling Club as
FLTLT Stefani loves the challenge
of the road race and is obviously good
at the event.
He has only entered the event
twice and has a 100 per cent record.
The first time was 2006 when he
won the road race but finished second
Last year, he won the road race
again but finished only seventh in the
time trial and trailed CPL Chris Holbert
by one point going into the criterium.
He didn't win that race -- that honour
went to another RAAFie, SGT Mick
Rand, but FLTLT Stefani did hold off
CPL Holbert to win the overall title.
CPL Holbert will be back for
another crack this year and, interest-
ingly, he too has had an overseas spell
From late April to late June he
was working on the Hornet Upgrade
Program in China Lake, California.
Unlike FLTLT Stefani, he did not
have his bike with him.
"I am back training though," CPL
Holbert, of RAAF Base Williamtown,
said. "My form is well below what it
was last year so I am not expecting
too much this year but you just never
Last year more than 50 cyclists from
Air Force, Navy, Army and APS con-
tested the titles.
There will again be varying dis-
tances for A, B and C grade riders as
well as female competitors.
For more information, contact LSET Suzie
Peterson at susanne.peterson@defence.
gov.au, (02) 9359 4403 or 0404 518 541.
his road title
this year but
he has had
a change of
mind and is
now in a race
to get into
for the event in
The road race course at Royal National Park starts and finishes at
Watamolla Beach but don't be fooled that it's a flat course. As one
cyclist said: "While there aren't climbs to put the French Alps to
shame, it is just relentless. We do a series of 'out and back' laps
that have some pretty vicious climbs in them. Not going to be any
hiding in the bunch on this one."
THE ONLY WAY IS UP
Rand won the
Photo: ACW Nicci
Inspiration came at just the right
time for defending ADF road
champion FLTLT Damon Stefani.
John Martin reports.
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