By Anthony Tan
After doing plenty of domestique duties so far this spring, new Rabobank recruit Graeme Brown was looking for a little bit of payback and a big result at the Scheldeprijs Vlaanderen.
"That's definitely the goal. It's the kind of race that suits me, I guess, but there's quite a few good riders that could make it a bit hard," he joked, laughing nervously before the start.
The 27 year-old Sydneysider said that so far, he's enjoying his time at the very top-level of cycling, a situation he hasn't been exposed to week after week until this year. "I've had a lot of new experiences... actually, every race I've done has been new," he smiled.
"I've had to do a bit of work in them and they do a bit of work for me, so that's good. In Flanders, I had to help [Erik] Dekker and keep him out of the wind for the first 170k; he was happy with what I did, so maybe the next race we do together, he can help me out. I'm really enjoying it and it's working out well; hopefully, I can get a win on the board today."
Brown's transition to the ProTour has been made easier by the presence of fellow Aussie team-mate Mathew Hayman, who is entering his seventh year with Rabobank this season. "Yeah for sure; not only as a translator," Brown chuckled, "but also to get me in the right position at the front as well."
Yesterday, both Brown and Hayman both placed themselves in the winning move, but against the might of Boonen and his Quick.Step team, the best he could manage was fifth in the end - no disgrace against more than half a dozen of the world's best sprinters.