Sean Lake of Avanti IsoWhey Sports surprised many in the cycling world with his top-tier performance behind Rohan Dennis and Richie Porte in the nationals time trial, but for those that have seen his rapid progression through the local scene, it was just a confirmation of his ability. Lake was out early on the course and set the pace for the following riders, only falling behind when the final 5 riders reached the time checks. But as World Tour riders Jack Bobridge (Trek-Segafredo) and Damien Howson (Orica-Greenedge) dropped off the pace, Lake maintained his speed and overtook the others to finish on the podium. From a rowing background, he was recruited to African Wildlife Safaris (AWS) in 2014, where he immediately impressed with a win in the incredibly tough Grafton to Inverell. ?Lake spoke to Peloton Caf? after the race.
?I?m letting it sink in nice and slowly, and just enjoying it. I?m very, very happy with that performance. I?m pretty new to the sport, and after developing the capacity with my rowing, it was all about then just transferring that across. Even today I was finding improvements. Using that engine, from training from a young age with rowing then learning how to ride a bike.?
Whilst the result may have come as a surprise to many (the bookies had him at 500-1), Lake himself was confident that he had what it took to make the podium. ?I sort of did the maths and worked out that if I had the perfect ride and hit some personal bests then I?d be able to get around where I managed to get. But everything fell into place perfectly for that to come off.?
Steven Waite, formerly manager of AWS, but now with Avanti IsoWhey, talked about how Lake?s talent was unearthed. ?I?m very proud to be part of that discovery, the management team at the time found him riding some handicaps, towelling people up from a few minutes back and climbing really well. We?ve always seen this sort of potential (nationals podium form) in him, we knew there was a deep pond to play with. He was very green when he raced Melbourne-Warrnambool (his first race)? he was super strong, but just so green. Second race out he wins his first Grafton, and we were proud to go back to back with him this year to finish off the African Wildlife Safaris era on a really high note.”
Lake became only the second rider to win the Grafton to Inverell twice, equalling 2000 national road race champion Jamie Drew in the process. Waite was clearly proud of his charge and the role that he played in the rider?s development. ?To see him go on up into a better, stronger team and then to follow him across was even better, it?s nice to feel connected to such success.?
When I asked Lake how far he can go in the sport, the answer came quick with a smile. ?All the way? hopefully.?
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