Niklas Eg was one of several young riders who announced themselves as talents for the future during the 2017 season. A third place at the Tour de l'Avenir helped to seal a contract with Trek-Segafredo for the 23-year-old, who made his debut with the WorldTour team at the Tour Down Under and Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race. The Herald Sun Tour later this week will complete his busy Australian racing programme.
With his hometown of Herning and adopted home in Girona both experiencing zero degree temperatures, Eg explained to Cyclingnews that he requested a warm-weather start to his career with Trek-Segafredo.
"We talked about it being better for me to ride the races here with the warmer weather because I really don't like the cold weather," he said. "For me, it is better to ride in the heat. Maybe not in the 40-degree plus but normally the warmer weather is better."
Eg wasn't the only Tour de l'Avenir podium finisher lining out in Adelaide to start the 2018 season. Overall winner Egan Bernal was making his Sky debut at the race and runner-up Bjorg Lambrecht was also due to race but was ruled out due to the UCI rules requiring riders to file whereabouts data for 42 days before they can race.
While Eg was riding in support of teammate Ruben Guerreiro, and generally learning the trade of WorldTour racing, Bernal was leading the line for Sky. The young Colombian got off to a solid start and delivered the British team the best young rider prize and sixth in the general classification. Having seen the performances and results of Bernal, Eg explained that, while his 2018 focus is development, a GC result is certainly achievable.
"I know a lot of the guys from U23 and I can see they are going really strong [in Australia] but, in the peloton, I feel good," he said. "Obviously we are not riding that fast but in the finals, you can feel the older pros have another gear.
"I know that when you see Bernal and some of the other guys perform, I think it is something I can do it as well. It takes time, though. You always dream but I am ready to suffer and I know the first half of the year will be hard. It is a learning process."
Assisting Eg's transition into the WorldTour ranks Down Under are a number of fellow Danes in the peloton. Rooming with Danish road champion Mads Pedersen, Eg has also enjoyed talking in his native tongue on and off the bike on his debut visit to Australia. And, for Eg, the quantity and quality of his compatriots in the peloton ensures that no young Dane is lumped with the expectations of their past successes and triumphs.
"There is no pressure on one specific rider, we are just helping each other out and Danish cycling has a bright future," Eg concluded.