Seventeen-year-old Sunshine Coast cyclist Alastair Mackellar will tackle hills far steeper than Montville when he takes a 14-day break from his studies at Matthew Flinders Anglican College to travel to Italy next week.
Alastair has been invited to Italy by BMC, the professional world touring team which Australian cyclist Cadel Evans’ won the Tour de France with in 2011.
In Italy, BMC has facilitated for Alastair to compete in three junior races with a local Italian team in Cene, a small town at the base of the Italian Alps, just outside of Bergamo, Italy.
Alastair is one of Australia’s best junior riders and was selected on the strength of his cycling results, including four Australian titles and his Queensland Academy of Sport testing results.
Flinders principal Stuart Meade said Alastair should be proud of his efforts in securing such a strong development opportunity and striving for excellence in his chosen field.
“Alastair is a fantastic role model for other students as he demonstrates how dedication, discipline and passion can help you to achieve your goals,” Mr Meade said.
“Alastair has the support of his parents Duncan and Rachel, who will be travelling to Italy with him, and also of our Flinders community as we proudly witness his development.
“It is wonderful to know that Alastair has been inspired by two past Flinders students - Alexandra Martin-Wallace and Kristina Klonan – who are also QAS cyclists achieving lofty heights in cycling.”
Alastair said his teachers and friends at Flinders had shown him “amazing support” to help him manage his intense cycling regime, which includes daily two-hour training rides from 4am, and up to 350 kilometres of cycling per week.
“Having an additional study period has been great to help me get through the study workload and enables me to fit in my training,” Alastair said.
“Also, having past Flinders students Alex and Kristina go through cycling at such a high level has been a great inspiration and I hope to have similar success to both girls as I continue to race.
“I can’t wait for Italy, although I’m aware the hills are going to be bigger than Montville.”
Alastair said he had developed a love for cycling because of the “joy, freedom and friendships that are made along the way”.
“My personal goals this year for cycling are to be successful in my overseas trip to Italy. It is going to be something completely different to what I have done before, so I am keen to learn and experience new things.”
Alastair’s father Duncan Mackellar said the Italian opportunity was a credit to Alastair’s dedication and commitment.
“We are excited for Alastair as he will race against some the best Under 17 riders in Italy and Europe, and experience the large mountains of Italy, and the challenges of racing in Europe with depths of fields beyond that of Australia,” Mr Mackellar said.
“For such a team as BMC to be actively assisting young athletes to reach their dreams is a real credit to BMC Head Coach Alan Pieper.”
Alastair is a team member of the Australian Cycling Academy at University of the Sunshine Coast.
The team is the brain-child of Ben Kersten and Matt Wilson (both former professional riders) and is giving young riders a pathway both through education at USC and professional cycling aspirations in Europe.
For more information about Flinders, please visit www.mfac.edu.au.