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Matthew Lloyd (Silence-Lotto) ascends the Col de la Colombière.
Former Champion says Sulzberger, Rogers the riders to watch
Former Australian Open Road Champion Matthew Lloyd (Silence-Lotto) has named Michael Rogers and Wes Sulzberger (Française des Jeux) as his biggest rivals for tomorrow’s title race. Lloyd confirmed a second green, gold and white jersey is his first objective of the season.
Lloyd believes temperature will be a factor in tomorrow’s race, with conditions expected to be similar to the near 40 degree conditions today’s women’s race was staged in. Lloyd knows a thing or two about racing in hot conditions; he lost consciousness and collapsed during sweltering conditions at Tour Down Under in 2006.
"It’s going to be an interesting race I think, given how hot it’s supposed to be," said Lloyd. "I think the temperature is going to definitely play a role towards the end of the race. It will be a pretty tactical battle over the last few laps.
"Tomorrow I’m going to just really try and have a crack at the title," he added. "I’ll definitely be getting amongst the action and we’ll see how it pans out."
Lloyd said he’s focusing on the national title as his first season goal, as the Tour Down Under’s ProTour status has increased the attention of sprinters who can handle relatively small climbs on the race. Lloyd is one of several competitors keeping a keen eye on Sulzberger heading into tomorrow’s event, with the Tasmanian touted as a dark horse in the field.
"I think Mick Rogers and Wes Sulzberger will be strong. Peter McDonald will be in good form – you’re always motivated at the nationals after a win there," he said. "Fly V Australia has also shown its strength in numbers and could come into it."
The elite men’s field will contest 163.2 kilometres on the Buninyong circuit starting from 11 AM.