BSSC Alumni, Connor Sens, has one aim when he heads to Europe this week.

To simply make a name for himself within the cycling world.

The 21-year-old has the opportunity of a lifetime awaiting in Italy, where he will be based for the 2021 summer season while riding with the Zappi Racing Team.

“I would really like to put my name out there and progress within the sport so that I can follow my dreams and have a future as a professional cyclist,” Connor said ahead of his departure.

Zappi Racing Team is a junior, under-23 and men’s racing squad named after former-professional – now elite coach – Flavio Zappi.

The team’s goal is to keep the best riders as a foundation for building Zappi’s success in the UK and Europe with an outlook to support and sustain racing success based on its ethos of healthy living, good diet and close-up coaching.

Prior to leaving, Sens has been maintaining his fitness and diet in preparation for a strong six months of racing in some of Europe’s most iconic under-23 events.

“One of the main things I’ve taken from the team so far is doing a lot of swimming training in addition to changes in my diet,” Connor said.

The move to Europe is the biggest step Connor has taken on his journey to becoming a professional and he’s ready to embrace every second of the experience.

“It’s going to be a change in my life and there are some nerves in regards to how long I will be away from home with everything going on with coronavirus, so my friends and family won’t be able to visit me,” he said.

“But I’m excited with my recent form at Nationals and am ready to get stuck into some proper racing.”

He will have a solid six months of racing across the continent during the European summer and at this stage his last scheduled event looks to be the iconic Giro di Lombardia in October before he will then head back to Australia in November.

“I grew up watching so many of the classic races throughout Italy and to now be able to compete in the under-23 versions of these events is a really incredible opportunity,” Connor said.

“I’m ready for the challenge. As a last-year under-23 this is a make or break season and I’m going into it knowing that I’ll give it everything.

“This is my best opportunity to be recognised as a rider.”

In the lead up to his departure Connor showed strong form at national-level cycling events.

Earlier this month he was crowned King of the Mountain and received the polka dot jersey for top hill climbing during the U-23 Men’s Road Race at the 2021 RoadNats.

Cycling is in Connor’s blood, having been introduced to the sport by his father Peter and uncle Noel.

“My dad and uncle are into cycling as well as my younger sister Olivia,” he said.

“Noel and my dad were my first coaches and were really important in my progression as a cyclist and pushed me through it all.

“It’s now great to continue that legacy in the family.”

Anthony Pinda – Bendigo Advertiser