Feb 18, 2022

FACTOR JOINs FORCES WITH THE AUSTRALIAN CYCLING ACADEMY

Factor is pleased to announce a new partnership for 2022 with the Australian Cycling Academy (ACA Cycling). The Australian based UCI Continental team was established in 2018 by former professional cyclists Ben Kersten and Matt Wilson with the goal of ‘creating a better future for Australian cyclists, on and off the bike’. The team has a strong focus on developing talented and ambitious cyclists who wish to reach their maximum potential in the sport and ultimately turn professional. In collaboration with the University of the Sunshine Coast, their development program also allows team athletes the opportunity to study and strengthen their education while continuing to race and excel on the bike. 

We have been following ACA Cycling’s journey since the beginning and to see the results that their athletes have ridden to over the years and the clear success that their program is achieving, propelling a number of riders to professional level, has been highly impressive and certainly a team that we wanted to be affiliated with. So, when the opportunity arose to join forces for the 2022 season, we were instantly on board. 

Factor Australia General Manager, Marcel Berger, shares:

“Factor Bikes is excited to further support Australian road cycling through our partnership with the Australian Cycling Academy across all of its men’s, women’s and junior teams for 2022. We look forward to seeing ACA aboard their custom fluro yellow Factor OSTRO VAM and O2 disc bikes in the National Road Series and showcasing our products to Aussie cycling fans of all ages.”

The team got off to a flying start to the year, turning head’s on their standout new weapons with a phenomenal six National titles at the Australian National Championships in January, followed by a Stage victory in both the elite women and men’s categories at the Santos Festival of Cycling. We look forward to seeing what more they can achieve this season.

Here, we speak to team mechanic, Dave Manton, Women’s Development Lead, Lucy Kennedy, and Managing Director, Ben Kersten, to learn more about the team and their successful summer of racing, chat about their new bikes, and discuss ambitions for the current season and beyond. 


BIKES – DAVE MANTON – TEAM MECHANIC

THE O2

Everyone is loving this season’s new bikes. The weight and agility of the O2 has been a great asset to the riders who are on that model and provides a really comfortable training bike. But swap the training wheels out for some race wheels and it transforms into a razor sharp race bike.

OSTRO VAM

Every report within the team after our first month on the new bikes is that everyone on the OSTRO VAM absolutely loves it! For an all-round platform, with a high focus on being aerodynamic, the low weight is one of the greatest appeals, especially with zero sacrifice to stiffness. Definitely made some heads turn in the peloton too, thanks to the high vis colour!

Why did ACA Cycling decide to join forces with Factor Bikes in 2022?

As we are progressing as a team and growing in size and strength each year, we needed a partner that we could develop a relationship with that had similar visions to ours and provide a platform that gave our riders something to really launch off. Having our elite women’s and men’s teams, and now five of Australia’s best U19’s spread across the O2 and OSTRO VAM models, there is no better tool for them to jump to the next level in their careers. 


SUMMER RACING – LUCY KENNEDY – WOMEN’S DEVELOPMENT LEAD

You have had a big start to the season with some huge performances at the Australian Road Nationals and the Santos Festival of Cycling. Can you share how both events went and what the team achieved there?

We had a fantastic start to the year! We came away from Nationals with six new National Champions in the team – Anya Louw took out the U23 women’s time trial and criterium, Hamish McKenzie also did the double in the U19 men’s events, Isabelle Carnes came away with the U19 women’s time trial title and Cameron Rogers won the U19 men’s road race. Other standout performances were Dani De Francesco’s 5th in the elite women’s road race and Kane Richards’ incredible ride in the elite men’s road race to win the KOM jersey and place 4th on the day after a long breakaway.

We followed up this success at the Santos Festival of Cycling, where Maeve Plouffe won stage 2 and placed 3rd overall in the women’s tour and Angus Lyons took out a memorable victory on the final stage up the famous Willunga Hill.

What was the biggest highlight to take away from both races?

The highlight was seeing our riders and support team come together and work so cohesively in the first races of the year after a very disrupted two years that offered little racing opportunity. While it’s the winners and medallists in the spotlight, such success would not be possible without the full support of their teammates and staff – their hard work does not go unnoticed. Every rider was fully committed to the team goals and progressed in different ways throughout the races. 

What’s coming up next for the team?

Our next race block will consist of the Tour of Gippsland and the Melbourne to Warrnambool coming up in mid-February. It’s the first time the Melbourne to Warrnambool is hosting a standalone women’s race, so it’s exciting for the team to be taking part in that historical event. 

*The team have since competed in the Tour of Gippsland and once again had standout performances, with Kane Richards winning the opening stage and the General Classification, while Cameron Scott claimed the remaining two stages, impressively securing a clean sweep. The women’s team also had some great success with an on-form Maeve Plouffe claiming honours on Stage 1. She backed up a big start with podium spots on Stages 2 and 3, securing 2nd overall in the General Classification. To top off a fantastic weekend of racing, Isabelle Carnes won the Junior tour. And so the winning momentum continues…hats off team!

What are the key races the team will be targeting this season?

This year is shaping up to have a more complete NRS (National Road Series) calendar than we’ve seen for a few years, so we’ll be targeting each one of those rounds. After hosting the inaugural Cycle Sunshine Coast Tour in 2021, we aim to make that bigger and better in 2022, to showcase the beautiful Sunshine Coast region and excel on our home roads.


tEAM – BEN KERSTEN – OWNER/GENERAL MANAGER

How is the team dynamic for the new season?

We are all really happy with the dynamic of the riders and staff. It’s a development team so we have a lot of young athletes on the team and the environment needs to be a nurturing one, which I feel it is.

Can you share a bit about how and why you selected the team you have now?

We wanted U19 riders on the team that would medal at our home World Championships this year in Wollongong. So, we started with signing the strongest medal chances for that and now we are onboard with them on their journey to turn professional. Our selection outside of this involves a mix of riders relocating to our base at the Sunshine Coast, studying at university, being in the AusCycling Track program, and having the ability to turn pro in 18 months.

You are clearly providing a great platform for Australian riders to develop and go on to race at World Tour level. Is this your ultimate goal?

Yes. Our main goal is to give these young athletes the very best chance at turning professional. We have started to gain some serious momentum in this space which we are really proud of. Not all riders will make it to the World Tour unfortunately, but riders on our team will be able to take on the world with an education and life skills for their next phase.  

How did the team come about?

Matt (Wilson) and I came through the Australian system as young athletes and to be completely and purposefully brutal, it was shocking. That whole ‘you need to break a few eggs to make an omelette’ mentality was criminal. Young athletes aren’t eggs, and you can’t just break them. We wanted to do better for the next wave, better for Australia. Hopefully we’ve made a difference and the landscape has now changed.

You have a number of highly experienced former professional cyclists involved – Can you share a bit about those involved and how they are able to pass on their experience to the team?

Matt and I have been in the sport in every capacity and were pro cyclists for longer than I’d care to say. We met, raced with, and worked alongside many great legends of the sport. So, when you have your own team and you have a vision and need a role fulfilled, you have a vast amount of people that you can think of that would be perfect for that role. As we grow and need a new member of the team, we have a think and are always on the same page in regard to who we want. Everyone needs to be development focussed, athlete first.

We are honoured to be working with ACA Cycling through 2022 and look forward to closely following their progress as they continue to chase big results across the calendar. Follow the team to show your support and to keep up with their winning ways:


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