Australia's Cameron Wurf didn't sign a professional contract until mid-February this year, yet he's been thrown into the deep end as a member of Androni Giocattoli's Classics program. In just four weeks of racing with the Italian Professional Continental outfit Wurf has already contested Milan-San Remo, but that won't be the only major spring race the Tasmanian rides this year.
Wurf's steep learning curve will continue this week at Settimana Ciclistica Lombarda, where he'll prepare for his Paris-Roubaix debut. "I rode three one-day races in Italy within the first week of arriving here, so that was a bit of a shock with the climate change from summer in Tasmania," said Wurf. "I must have gone okay as Gianni Savio put me into the Torino team the following week, which is a very important race for the team, then Milan-San Remo, so I really can't complain about my program.
"I feel like I have fitted in pretty well," he added. "This season I would really like to develop in the role of a domestique and at this team it is a role that fits well for me. We have some really great riders in Michele Scarponi and Francesco Ginanni so it is very enjoyable riding for these guys; they always show appreciation for the effort you put in, which is nice. Also, if they ask you to work it's highly likely they will finish up front, so it is a very motivating environment in which to be a part."
While making a Paris-Roubaix debut is a dream for any professional, Wurf's program could get even better if he continues to impress the team's management. His program will be decided in time, but Wurf believes he will contest Liège - Bastogne – Liège and La Fléche Wallonne where he wants to prove he's worthy of a Giro d'Italia start.
"It is a real thrill to be riding the big Classics, although having not ridden on the cobbles of Roubaix before it sure will be a baptism of fire... I don't mind that," he said. "I would love to ride the Giro, but we have many good riders so this will be difficult. I will keep working hard and hope they can find a role for me in the Giro team. I am happy with whatever comes my way in the way of races."
Wurf is keeping a level head, knowing this season needs to be about learning and after a difficult 2009, when much of his year was wiped out by glandular fever, Wurf is simply satisfied with the opportunity he's been given.
"I would really like to ride a full season," he said. "After the virus last year it is important to firstly be on top of my health, learning when to push and when to take it easy. As far as race goals I would like to establish myself as a reliable domestic for our team leaders, try for the odd breakaway here and there and hope to take my chance for personal glory this way.
"Basically I just want a good solid season and come out the end of the year a stronger and more complete rider," he added.
Wurf was a rower, taking part in the Athens Olympic Games in 2004 before switching to cycling in 2006.