After a year that delivered a single personal victory, at the Tour of Britain where he bested Mark Cavendish on Stage 2, Leigh Howard will travel to Tour de San Luis in early 2013 in search of wins. Howard is entering his second year with the Australian Orica-GreenEdge team and isn't setting any particular goals except to try and win every race he enters.
To prepare for his first international outing of the new season, Howard will ride the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic and the Australian Road National Championships before flying to South America. He's been named as a reserve in the Australian National team for the Jayco Herald Sun Tour but the big goal is getting a few confidence-boosting victories before heading to Europe.
"I want to go there and win," Howard said at the launch of the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic. "I have ridden the Bay Crits for a long time now and I'm itching to have a win so hopefully this will be the year.
"It's [Bay Crits] certainly going to be a stepping stone towards the nationals and the European season," he told Cyclingnews.
Howard says he will be given protected status on the flat stages of San Luis and feels ready to start the season strongly before his European campaign begins. Between now and late January, Howard is concentrating on building his condition for what will be another long and challenging year.
"We've already had one small training camp on the Gold Coast a couple of weeks ago and there is another training camp in January for some of the guys who aren't going to Tour Down Under – in Falls Creek and Bright. I won't be attending that because it's at the same time I'll be heading to Argentina.
"Until about the middle of January, I'll spend most of my time here in Geelong."
While Howard has previously demonstrated his ability in other areas, the young Orica-GreenEdge rider will keep his focus on improving his bunch sprints. A third-place at last year's Tour de Romandie prologue is just one example of the rider's extensive talents but his sole aim for 2013 is to simply, win.
"That [getting wins] is the real aim this year. I haven't really set any specific races that I want to win. To be honest I just want to win any race right now. After only getting one win this season, although it was a good win I certainly want to build on that and get a lot more next year," Howard told Cyclingnews.