Following the revelation late last month that Allan Davis is set to miss the Tour Down Under for the first time in the event's 13-year history, the GreenEdge recruit has admitted that it was "time for a change."
Davis, 31, joined the WorldTour neophytes after a frustrating second and final season with Astana. He has kicked off the New Year by racing the Jayco Bay Cycling Classic in Victoria in the lead up to the Mars Cycling Australia National Road Championships in Ballarat this coming weekend. The Bundaberg-native, riding for GreenEdge composite team Mitchelton Wineries – Lowe Farms, was the standout performer for the new outfit in Victoria, and finished first overall after a hugely consistent display. He finished third, second, eighth and third on the four stages.
"Without disrespect to the Bay Crits that's just the way it is at this time of year – a bit of race fitness in the legs before the nationals," Davis explained in response to the question surrounding why the GreenEdge men had failed to produce a stage win. "It's such a tough [nationals] course so it goes a long way. Especially in my boat, along with a couple of other guys, without doing much racing towards the end of last season. This is exactly what a few of us need."
The new team for Davis represents more than just the opportunity to pull on new kit, with the former Commonwealth Road Champion clearly relishing the chance to reinvigorate his career. At last year's Tour of Turkey, Davis claimed he was left to fend for himself, without team support, due to interest in his services from GreenEdge. In June, following encouraging form at the Tour of Belgium, Davis suffered a bout of glandular fever. Time off the bike followed and he then crashed at the Eneco Tour.
"It's probably been about 10 years since I've had a real rough trot through illness and injury," Davis explained.
Once officially signed up by GreenEdge for the 2012 season, his program was drawn up without the Tour Down Under, an event that he has won twice,
"I've known for a few months now," Davis confirmed. "It's still a huge year coming up without putting Tour Down Under on top of it. After 13 years of going there, I've seen it grow over the years and it's been a real privilege and honour to be a part of it. It's pretty hard not being there but that's alright. It's time for a change and I think it's for the better.
"You've also got Robbie [McEwen] doing his last race there in his career," Davis continued. "It's also a huge thing for Robbie but whatever, it's out of my hands and I'm happy with whatever decision. It's not something that I'm going to worry about."
Davis will begin his European season at the Challenge Mallorca.