Allan Davis' return to the fold of pro cycling and the Quick Step team paid dividends in Adelaide as he took out the Tour Down Under. Cyclingnews' Les Clarke finds out that some hiccups in the past should fade into insignificance for this Classics contender in 2009.
There's a quietly confident aura surrounding Allan Davis this year. Whether it's following yet another Tour Down Under stage win or in the packed bar at Adelaide's Hilton Hotel following his overall victory, the boy from Bundaberg in northern Queensland finds himself in a different predicament as the 2009 season begins.
It's not just his general classification triumph in Australia's premier stage race, of which he's contested every edition since its inception in 1999. Three stage victories and a 25-second margin over local hero and two-time victor, Stuart O'Grady, is just the beginning of what could be Davis' biggest purple patch since becoming a pro with the Mapei team in 2002.
The 28-year-old has shown ample promise during that time, and was riding the Tour de France before many of the Australian stars we now see on France's roads in July. Various events conspired to make the road ahead a tough one, although you get the feeling the possibility of giving up the sport during these challenging periods never really crossed his mind.
An alleged association with the Operación Puerto saga, followed by claims and counter-claims that he was indeed one of Dr. Fuentes' clients came about due to the fact he rode for the Liberty Seguros team in 2006 when its director Manolo Saiz was arrested for his involvement in the Spanish scandal prior to the Tour de France. Davis vehemently denied being involved and had to fight to save his name in 2006 and then again in 2007 after the UCI tried to block his entry into the World Championships in Stuttgart.
He's come back to the pro ranks twice after effectively being 'blacklisted', although he says that might have worked in his favour. "I've worked extra hard, and although I've had some bad breaks I'm not trying to think about it too much and look to the future," says Davis.
To read the full feature, click here.