After helping create history while racing in Europe, Haylee Fuller has her sights set on more success.
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The 20-year-old Fuller is back home at Dubbo after a second stint in Europe, which was highlighted by competing in the first women's Tour de l'Avenir race.
Known as the 'under 23 Tour De France', the Tour de l'Avenir is a French race which started in 1961 but had been exclusively for male riders.
Fuller was part of the six-strong Australian team which got to compete in the inaugural women's event. The tour consisted of five different stages and some extremely mountainous terrain in the French Alps.
"This was the first year for the women and I think that made it even more special for us," Fuller said.
"You race in your national team kit and it's always an honour to put on that jersey."
Being part of an historic race like that would be enough of a memorable moment for most people but it's just been one part of a huge year for Fuller.
In March of this year she was awarded a contract with Team BridgeLane.
Team BridgeLane is an Australian team which competes on the UCI Continental Circuits, which is a level below the elite UCI World Tour.
"It's not the highest (contract). I'd still like a progress to that and then hopefully I can step my way up eventually," she said.
Fuller has been racing for Team BridgeLane since returning to Australia last month and after competing in Cycle Sunshine Coast she'll soon head south for the Spirit of Tasmania Cycling Tour.
The former Dubbo Cycle Club star will compete there as the leader of the under 23 division of the AusCycling National Road Series and is primed for more success after such an intense period of racing in Europe.
The long hours spent on the bike and sheer distance between herself and her loved ones was tough to deal with at times, but it was all worth it now she looks back on it.
"I had an extra two months in Europe," she said.
"That's more time away from home and more time without the family so I think it's just a big commitment.
"I was training in Andorra and I was doing 25 hour weeks on the back.
"It was just a huge commitment but it was rewarding. I enjoyed it."
To realise what that work led to, you need to look at more than the results page.
Fuller's style of racing means she acts more as a team leader and often does a lot of the tough work up front to help other riders in the team be well-positioned for sprints and race finishes. Much of the team communication during the race is also her responsibility.
While it means there isn't a mountain of podium finishes, there were still individual highlights during the gruelling Tour de l'Avenir.
In the opening stage time trial, Fuller raced at an average speed of 40.8km/hr and was just one minute and 48 seconds behind the winner and world time trial champion, Antonia Niedermaier.
"It's more of a team role that I play," she said.
"It's more of a team captain kind of role just where I was mainly communicating between the other girls and then back to the car.
"In the time trial I got 27th, which was like a big shot for me and I was quite happy with that."
While her schedule back in Australia remains hugely busy, Fuller has also found plenty of time to return to the Dubbo Regional Cycling Facility and spend time with the club's next generation of stars.
"It's so special coming home and everyone's been following you and especially coming down to the track," she said.
"It's still like a family and I think it's so special coming back to it."
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