By John Flynn in Surfers Paradise
The 'boys of summer' will be out in force later today, Australian time as the holiday mecca of Surfers Paradise prepares to host race two of Queensland's Grand Prix Criterium Series.
Working on his tan on Saturday while cruising the glitter strip with his Australian based Davitamon Lotto teammates, Robbie McEwen was very much the centre of attention as 150 amateur cyclists took up the invitation to ride with the pro's on a 100 kilometre bunch ride beginning at Brisbane's Southbank Parkland.
McEwen, who calls the Gold Coast home during the worst of the European winter, traditionally turns up ready to race in Surfers Paradise. The tight, technical circuit, which includes sections of clay pavers and challenging corners in the famed Cavill and Orchid Avenues, generally suits the former BMX rider, who last year was burnt off in the final lap of the race by Francaise des Jeux's Brad McGee.
"I'm not expecting to be one of the best," McEwen told Cyclingnews. "The supporters always give me a really good reception in Briso and on the coast. I'm not here because I enjoy the pain!"
Odds of a McEwen victory have been slashed with news Liberty Seguros sprinter Allan Davis will miss today's race, as his wife is due to give birth any day. Davis was impressive in race one of the series at Brisbane's Southbank, finishing second in the sprint behind World Champion track pursuiter Ashley Hutchinson.
When Cyclingnews caught up with Davis after last week's race, the cyclist who hails from the small sugar town of Bundaberg was eager to put behind him a tumultuous finish to 2005, in the wake of the positive EPO test involving teammate Roberto Heras and rumours surrounding the future of his team.
"Nah mate it's all go ahead," Davis said. "Just try and forget about it, a mistake happened and it's the past now mate, we're just worrying about the future and trying to get results."
Davis was also eager to put to an end any rumours about the future of his team, following the loss of their champion GC Rider. "I haven't heard any different. I think it's just a bit of the media who are changing it around."
Davis, whose brother Scott recently joined T-Mobile, has singled out the upcoming Australian Open Road Championships as his next major objective; the goal being to make the team for the Commonwealth Games. Beyond that, the Liberty Seguros sprinter will look to the spring classics, and the race he dreams of winning, Milan - San Remo.
"I'd love to, it'll be a dream come true," Davis said.