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The 2013 Tour Down Under podium: Thomas, Slagter and Moreno
Movistar rider a regular podium feature at Australian race
In 2013 Javier Moreno left Australia with victory in the king of the mountains classification and was second overall at the Tour Down Under. He has returned once again to start his season down under. The Movistar rider has won races overall before, the Vuelta a Asturias in 2011 and the Vuelta a Castilla y León in 2013, but with the likes of Alejandro Valverde and Nairo Quintana as teammates, Moreno is relishing his chance to lead the squad.
"It's normally my job to help my leaders, Valverde and Quintana, so I'm going to take advantage of the opportunity to be the leader this week at the Tour Down Under but I don't quite expect to be as good as the Australians," Moreno told reporters via a translator.
Moreno will be an outside chance of overall victory and wasn't giving away any secrets on how his form is prior to the race. "I've prepared like the last two years, I don't actually know quite what condition I'm in right now. The first race is always an unknown factor but I hope to go as well as possible and see what happens," he said.
Talking up his rivals, Moreno highlighted that an Australian was a likely victor having acclimatised to the heat and also having already raced this year.
"Australians are always at a high level this time of year, coming of their championships they'll be at a better level than the Europeans."
The change in the race to include more vertical kilometres is likely to benefit Moreno. "The course appears to be more difficult than it has been in the past," he said.
"There is an extra day of hard climbing and as a principle, the harder the race is, the better for me. The level of the field is also higher this year so, it will be a difficult race to win."