Open­ing the Gates to ca­reer

Multisport Mecca - - News - Justin Sayson

AF­TER liv­ing around the globe fol­low­ing his step­fa­ther’s world tour ca­reer, Amarni Gates has found a home on the Sun­shine Coast and is ready to put his own stamp on the cy­cling world.

Gates, who is part of the new Aus­tralian Cy­cling Academy – Ride Sun­shine Coast team, is jet­ting off to Ja­pan later this month af­ter his first taste of high-class ac­tion dur­ing the sum­mer.

The 18-year-old raced in The Jayco Her­ald Sun Tour, his first ma­jor multi-stage event, last month and said it was “eye open­ing” to see how good the other rid­ers were.

He said the most nerve wrack­ing part was when he saw all the cy­clists he looked up to in the ho­tel and re­alised he was fac­ing them the next day.

In a race won by Columbian Este­ban Chavez, Gates said it was a great ex­pe­ri­ence and he was happy to play his role for the team, even if it did not end as well as he hoped.

“The last day I suf­fered a me­chan­i­cal prob­lem with my bike and couldn’t fin­ish the race so I was pretty dev­as­tated but that’s bike rac­ing,” he said.

Gates was thank­ful for the knowl­edge of vet­eran team­mate and high-per­for­mance di­rec­tor Stu­art Shaw on the team dur­ing the race.

The teenager and new re­cruit Freddy Ovett picked Shaw’s brain to help un­der­stand the world of cy­cling.

And Gates has an­other men­tor close to home.

Now get­ting older, Gates said he was be­gin­ning to ap­pre­ci­ate all the tips from his step­dad Nick, who rode in the Tour de France.

“When your dad gives you ad­vice it sorta goes in one ear and out the other,” he said.

“It isn’t till later you go ‘oh wow … it re­ally did mean some­thing’.”

Gates did not pick up the sport un­til re­turn­ing to Aus­tralia from France when he was 12.

Two years later he moved to Thai­land where Nick was a cy­cling academy di­rec­tor and his love for the bike grew.

He moved to the Gold Coast in 2016 and has now set­tled with his new team at the Univer­sity of the Sun­shine Coast.

“The train­ing here is amaz­ing at the Sun­shine Coast, and the fa­cil­i­ties,” he said.

“Ev­ery­one is just so re­laxed up here, you can re­ally fo­cus when you’re train­ing.”

Gates is also start­ing a Bach­e­lor of Sports Stud­ies as part of the High Per­for­mance Stu­dent Ath­lete pro­gram at USC.

While his main goal is to make it to the “big leagues” of the world tour, this year he just wants to help his team win and move up the ranks.

Train­ing up to 30 hours a week on the bike, not in­clud­ing gym or pool ses­sions, he said it was his pas­sion for the sport that kept him out on the road.

“It’s such a weird feel­ing, I just get ex­cited be­ing out there do­ing four hours [of train­ing],” he said. “It’s just the love of rid­ing.” His next event is the Tour de Tochigi in Ja­pan on March 23 fol­lowed by the Na­tional Road Se­ries back in Aus­tralia.

Un­til then he is con­tent fig­ur­ing out univer­sity and train­ing to live out his dream of rid­ing “my bike for a liv­ing”.

The Aus­tralian Cy­cling Academy is a new devel­op­ment cy­cling team sup­ported by ma­jor part­ner, the Sun­shine Coast Coun­cil, and based out of the high per­for­mance precinct of the Univer­sity of the Sun­shine Coast.

PHOTO: CON CHRONIS

LEARN­ING CURVE: Ar­marni Gates com­petes in the Her­ald Sun Jayco Tour.

PHOTO: BEARDY MCBEARDY

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