Race organisers have announced the rider roster of the Australia - UniSA team in the 2007 Tour Down Under, taking place from January 16-21.
The team directed by Dave Sanders will include sprinter and Commonwealth Games medallist, Allan Davis, who has ridden in every Tour Down Under since its inception and this year won two stages of the event. Back in the Australia-UniSA colours for another year is Australian National Series Champion, Robert McLachlan (Drapac Porsche), 2006 Elite Open Road Champion, Russell Van Hout (Savings & Loans) and 2005 Australian cross country mountain bike champion, Chris Jongewaard (Savings & Loans).
Tour Down Under stage winner and super 'domestique' Matt White has been granted permission by his Discovery Channel team bosses to line up in Adelaide and said the Australian line up will definitely be looking for stage wins and more. "It's a very versatile group so we have a lot of options," White said. "It's an honour to be wearing the green and gold of the national team and it always motivates us to impress, even more so because we're at home.
"It's also the first time I'll ride on a team with Rob (McLachlan) who was one of my heroes when I was a junior rider," added White. "I bought a jersey from him in 1989 and I have a lot of respect for him." White owed his selection in the 1994 Commonwealth Games team to McLachlan who announced his retirement, opening the way for White to gain a start in the road line up.
"I'm sure we'll all gel as a team and put our full commitment behind Alby (Davis) in the sprints and then ride for whoever is the best placed to challenge for overall honours," said White. "Taking the Tour Down Under title is certainly not out of the question for us." A good bet for the overall GC will be teammate Chris Jongewaard, as he placed second in the Herald Sun Tour this year, losing only by five seconds to Simon Gerrans.
Further lining up in the team will be young talents Karl Menzies (Health Net) and Mitchell Docker (Drapac Porsche). Menzies notched up six wins this season with his American registered pro team while Docker is one of Australia's up and coming stars having already notched up a World Championship win in 2004 as a junior on the track.
The Australia - UniSA team roster in short:
Russell Van Hout
For more information on the Tour Down Under, go to www.tourdownunder.com.au.