Border cycling star Jesse Featonby has been busy preparing for another huge season of racing.
Featonby and his Drapac-Pat’s Veg teammates have spent the week training at Bright to set themselves up for a strong display at the upcoming national championships and Sun Tour.
He exceeded all expectations during last year’s Sun Tour, finishing 17th against the likes of four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome.
Despite battling a case of bronchitis, Featonby was able to complete a ride from Bright up Mount Buffalo before finishing at Harrietville earlier this week.
“Nationals is first up and I don’t know how I’ll be feeling for that, but definitely the Sun Tour is what I’ll be aiming for again,” Featonby said.
“I absolutely loved it last year and fingers crossed I can build on that and see where it goes.”
While putting kilometres into the legs is the aim at camps such as this, Featonby admitted the most important thing is getting to know who he’ll be riding with.
“It’s important to build that culture with your teammates because you’re spending so much time with them through the year,” he said.
“The team camp is the best way to do that because you’re training each day, eating meals and having team meetings to go through everything together.
“It’s a really good opportunity to get to know your teammates before you go back to your home environments because we mightn’t see each other for the next two or three months.”
The Drapac team remains largely the same as last season with a few new faces introduced.
Most of the riders base themselves in Melbourne, with a handful hailing from interstate and Featonby in Albury.
What makes the team unique is it’s holistic approach, with the bulk of the riders balancing professional cycling with tertiary study.
“We try to play to everyone’s strength off the bike as well as on it, which is where I come into it as well,” team manager Vasanta Iyer said.
“We like to pair the younger guys up with the older ones to give them a bit more experience.
“Jesse’s awesome, he’s only been riding with us for two years so his experience is probably less than a lot of the other guys.
“He’s got a lot of life experience, so we use him as a mentor in the team because most of our guys are 20, 21.”