• Roxsolt-Attaquer teammates gather to congratulate Neve Bradbury on her Day 6 victory (Jamie Finch-Penninger)Source: Jamie Finch-Penninger
A strong team performance across the varied terrain of the National Road Series racing in the Tweed Valley has ensured that Roxsolt-Attaquer won the overall teams title for the second consecutive year.
By
SBS Cycling Central

8 Dec 2020 - 1:25 PM  UPDATED 8 Dec 2020 - 1:26 PM

The UCI-registered team are the highest-rated Australian team outside of Mitchelton-Scott and had big plans for overseas racing this season before being grounded in Australia due to coronavirus restrictions.

The squad were looking forward to a Tour of Flanders start, amongst other top-tier races, but saw those dreams dashed. Roxsolt-Attaquer came to the nine days of racing in northern NSW with high expectations, but also a point to prove, and they made the most of their chances at racing in the Tweed. SBS Cycling Central spoke to Peta Mullens, part-owner of, and rider for the team.

"This year was really hard," said Mullens. "COVID hit a lot of use really hard. We had five girls come up from Victoria who were in lockdown a week before the event.

"It's been some of the hardest series of racing that we've had and the girls have been more prepared than ever. I think that says a lot about their character and commitment to bike racing and the fact that we've had this down year isn't going to deter us in years to come."

Roxsolt-Attaquer took out the overall teams classification with a series of consistent results which garnered them 2171 points with Mullens a consistent finisher in the sprints and their posse of climbers very strong in taking top results in the harder, hilly stages. Sydney Uni-Staminade finished in second with 1608 points, while ARA-Pro Racing Sunshine Coast were third with 1568. Specialized Women's Racing ended up in fourth overall, after being in the lead when departing the race after the fourth day of racing.  

"I think the team's classification is something that we highly value," said Mullens. "I compare ourselves to other NRS teams who have a standout rider that they ride for every race. We're one of the teams that have a couple of outstanding performers and can share the love. The team's classification is a sign of that."

Roxsolt's biggest success came with Neve Bradbury's breakaway win, with the 18-year-old slipping up the road on the Day 6 finish into Mooball and taking a solo win, her first victory at NRS level. The win came just as the announcement of Bradbury as a finalist in the Zwift academy, a pathway to a WorldTour contract with Canyon-SRAM if she emerges as the winner from the final selection of five riders in a virtual racing selection camp.

"We actually knew a few days before she did actually and we were trying to keep it a secret," said Mullens. "I've seen her come along in the last 12 months and develop from a junior to a young woman.

"Unfortunately for her, it's all been behind closed doors. She had a crash before nationals and a concussion, so this is her first racing for nearly 18 months." 

Justine Barrow was the premier climber of the race, if you don't include young sensation Sarah Gigante, and in a different race, the talk of the town would be about the showing of the 41-year-old on the climbs. She dropped her rivals with Gigante up the road on Day 4 of competition, blitzing the climb and her immediate competition, the only issue was that Gigante was nearly eight minutes up the road. 

It was a similar story on Day 7, this time Barrow and Gigante attacked away together, but the 20-year-old Victorian managed to get a gap over the top of one of the climbs, and then use her time-trialling ability to increase her lead for another big win. Meanwhile, Barrow did a sterling job herself of pushing out her lead on the rest of the riders, finishing over two minutes ahead of third-placed Ruby Roseman-Gannon (ARA-Pro Racing Sunshine Coast).

While Barrow - another part-owner of the team - impressed, a lot of the focus for Mullens and Roxsolt is on the development of young riders to that level.

"We've got a few new riders," said Mullens. "We had some who raced several of the days but hadn't raced in the NRS before. We feel pretty special to give that opportunity to girls who wouldn't otherwise have it.

"I didn't grow up doing much NRS myself, I was lucky to have international opportunities, but that camaraderie that we develop on a national scene really helps us when we go international. We love racing our bikes and we're grateful to have a series that gives us the opportunity to do that."

A democratic cycling team with high ambitions
Roxsolt-Attaquer is a team that does things differently, from upsetting the larger teams on the results sheet to upending the normal team structure within the sport.
RoxsoltAttaquer bringing the WorldTour dream closer for female riders
Team Roxsolt were most noted for being the squad which featured Australian riders from European teams that didn’t have team support for summer racing and criteriums when they returned to Australia. Now an all-year squad and welcoming a new sponsor to become #RoxsoltAttaquer, they are looking further afield.

For 2021, the team is hoping to get back to racing abroad and do some of the biggest events in the world. 

"We'll look at a European roster," said Mullens, "we probably won't get back to America for a few years, but we're looking to do a few months stint overseas. We do it for the experience, we know full well when we go to Europe that we're probably not going to be winning bike races but we love racing our bikes and spending time together."