Cycling: Will Pender and Brandon Conway selected for Mainpac in 2018 National Road Series

National selection: Will Pender and Brandon Conway will race for team Mainpac in the 2018 National Road Series. Photo: Matt Attard
National selection: Will Pender and Brandon Conway will race for team Mainpac in the 2018 National Road Series. Photo: Matt Attard

PORT Macquarie cyclists Will Pender and Brandon Conway hope their selection for next year’s National Road Series is the first step in a greater goal.

The junior duo will join NRS development team Mainpac-MTOSS for the 2018 season with the hope of further progressing through the ranks.

Ultimately, for Conway at least, an appearance at the Tour de France remains an item on the bucket list.

“The ultimate goal is to join the UCI Pro World Tour and that’s one of the biggest goals for me because it opens up to races like Tour de France,” he said.

Conway admitted training with fellow local cyclists Deb Hennessey and Lauren Kitchen had helped him improve as an up-and-comer.

“They’ve been a good inspiration; I’ve got a lot of respect for them,” he said.

The ultimate goal is to join the UCI Pro World Tour and that’s one of the biggest goals for me because it opens up to races like Tour de France.

Port Macquarie cyclist Brandon Conway

“I’ve trained with them a lot and they’re good training partners because you pick up a lot of skills like where to attack.”

Conway and Pender will also step up to the senior competition in 2018 and are both aware of the challenges ahead.

“There are going to be a lot more people in the race so there will be different ways to race,” Conway said.

“The field will be stronger because you’ve got riders with more experience.”

Pender has been cycling for the last two years and was hopeful his selection in the team would prove to be ongoing.

“At the moment it’s just the 2018 season and then see what happens from there,” he said.

“NRS selection was something I set as a goal when I started by the time I was in the under-19s.”

He planned on staying in Australia over the next couple of years to develop as a cyclist, but an appearance at the Olympic Games remained a goal.

“The Olympic Games are the ultimate goal, but I’ll take it a year at a time,” Pender said.

NRS selection was something I set as a goal when I started by the time I was in the under-19s.

Port Macquarie cyclist Will Pender

“I’m happy to start in the NRS and then maybe head overseas to Europe in five years time and see what happens.

“At the moment it’s the furthest I’ve been (as a cyclist); it’s great to be able to make a team like this.”

​Both riders are active members of the Port Macquarie Cycle Club.

They started racing in the under-17 division in 2015, having graduated through the club ranks to become elite-level athletes.

The teenagers are currently preparing for the three-day Tour of Bright in December followed by the National Road Championships to be held in Ballarat in early January.