by Karen Lovatt
It began as Mitch Lovelock-Fay’s biggest weakness in triathlons. Now, it’s taken him to Europe for a new career phase.
“I started as a triathlete,” Lovelock-Fay said. “I was told I needed to work on my bike segment a bit more, and then it just went from there.”
“It” turned out to be the start of a promising cycling career for Lovelock-Fay from Bungendore whose cycling exploits have been chronicled previously in this and other local media. The 21 year old has just departed for Europe to ride for a professional cycling team in the UCI Continental Tour, only a step below the Pro Tour.
Lovelock-Fay left Australia on January 25 to join his new team.
“They’re a Danish team based in Italy, called Christina Watches-Onfone,” Lovelock-Fay said. “Their training base is in the north of Italy.”
Lovelock-Fay believes that his strong results in 2012 contributed to his selection as one of Christina Watches-Onfone’s riders for 2013. Riding for Jayco-Honeyshotz in the Asian Tour, he had a solid season, including a brilliant win at the Tour of Thailand and an excellent sixth place at the Tour of China.
“I was a bit lucky there to come sixth,” Lovelock-Fay said. “A lot of the riders there were quite a bit older than I am, so it was a good learning experience, and it was good that that sixth helped me get the team this year.”
Lovelock-Fay attributes the good finish to a combination of circumstances.
“The second tour had two time trials,” he said. “It suited me a bit more than the first one….I’m good enough to remain competitive, but I like to ride hills, that’s where my strength’s at.”
Christina Watches-Onfone certainly liked what they saw. Lovelock-Fay is on a one-year contract, and if the results come, there could be more.
“I’m not sure what my plans are for next year yet,” Lovelock-Fay said. “I hope that I get enough results to keep myself in, or move on from there to a bigger team.” He will spend 10 months training and racing in Europe.
“I haven’t received a race program yet. Usually, most European teams vary from 80 to 120 race days a year.”
During his downtime, Lovelock-Fay likes to watch the professionals.
“I like to learn a lot by watching the professional riders on TV. I have a lot of spare time on my hands after training, trying to recover, so usually I spend most of that time either reading books or watching racing.”
His heros and Rio in 2016?
Watching racing, of course, means watching what he someday aspires to be. Lovelock-Fay looks up to two riders in particular.
“I look up to Bradley Wiggins a lot.I also look up to the current Australian time trial and road champion, Luke Durbridge. I just get along with him really well, he’s a really nice person and a really talented rider, he’s the kind of person I aspire to be like.”
Lovelock-Fay won the National Track Title in 2010, but the results didn’t come, and he switched to road racing. He hasn’t however, ruled out a return to the track.
“I think my strengths at the moment are on the road,” he explained, “But I wouldn’t mind going to Australian Track Nationals next year in February and having a crack at that, and getting back into the Australian track program.”
The next stop after that could well be Rio de Janiero in 2016. “Depending on whether or not I get into the track program again, if I get back into the track program again then Rio will be the goal. I’m still a bit too young for the next Olympics on the road, so maybe the one after that.”