Like numerous Australian cyclists before him, Nick Schultz packed his bags and headed to Europe to race with an amateur team, driven by the dream of making it as a professional cyclist. The 21-year-old has spent the last two seasons in France with the CR4C Roanne team, adding race days to his 2015 calendar with appearance for the Australian national U23 team that saw him earn selection for the Richmond Worlds.
In 2016, Schultz will ride for the Dutch Continental SEG Racing team with the ambition of signing his first WorldTour contract off the back of a consistent and successful season.
2015 saw Schultz race a “double program with Roanne and the national team”, clocking up 70 race days, his longest season to date, starting with fifth place at the Australian U23 national road race. His performance in Buninyong resulted in gaining selection for the Jayco Herald Sun Tour U23 team, ensuring he was in a rider the national selectors had in mind for the European racing to come.
“I was planning on going back to France after nationals so when I got the call up I changed my flight for that experience to race the top teams and it was great to have that opportunity and see how they race,” Schultz told Cyclingnews. “The format of racing is quite different in the way it’s controlled and I guess the feel in the peloton is quite different in a point one race compared to a point 2 or amateur race. That was a really valuable experience just to see how the more experienced riders raced and how they act in the peloton.”
Schultz finished his second 2.1 race in 26th position overall and sixth on the young rider classification having ridden the Tour d’Azerbaïdjan last year with the national team. While Schultz enjoyed his Sun Tour experience, his season was never going to be primarily about early-February performances as he outlined.
“Going into 2015 I really wanted to be successful in the French races and I wanted to chase victories. Unfortunately I didn’t get any. I never thought I would be racing regularly with the national team so it was never an ambition to get professional experience because I think it’s pretty hard to anticipate to know if you’re racing with those guys. My goal was to perform consistently throughout the whole season from February to October in France and chase wins.”
With the French races on almost every weekend of the racing calendar, there wasn’t a specific event Schultz targeted for success, explaining instead his target was consistency.
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