Having spent over one year on the sidelines with injury then the discovery of a rare bone marrow edema which delayed his Orica-BikeExchange debut, Rob Power made a surprise and low-key debut for the Australian team at the one-day Arnhem-Veenendaal Classic in mid-August. The 21-year-old was then selected for the Tour of Britain where he was active throughout the 2.HC race and played his part for the team.
Power not only completed the tough race but finished in 48th place to confirm his comeback was on track. The Primus Classic Impanis - Van Petegem followed last weekend to push Power's race days into double figures but the West Australian is unsure how many more race days await before the 2016 season comes to a close.
"I am not too sure at the moment, I am just playing it as I go and the team is seeing how I go at each race, not planning too far ahead. I'll try get some more race days in and try keep getting fitter and stronger for next year," Power told Cyclingnews from his European base.
Despite being underdone, Power describes his first week and a half racing for Orica-BikeExchange as ''exciting", adding that he has enjoyed being back on the bike with a race number pinned to his jersey.
"Getting some race days in is a nice feeling and to be back racing and being competitive is great. Doing Tour of Britain, a week tour, was really good mentally for me," he added. "Getting back to a level of racing again is something I've been really enjoying."
Key to Power's return was a supportive environment that allowed the 2014 Tour de l'Avenir runner-up to take his time. Having seen the team enjoy arguably it's best season yet with victory at Paris-Roubaix, fourth at the Tour de France and podium finishes at the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a Espana added to Power's motivation for a 2016 return.
"I was just a matter of time and being patient but the whole the team was unreal with support from the staff at GreenEdge who were 100% behind me. I can't thank GreenEdge and Shayne Bannan and Gerry Ryan enough for all their help," said Power, who added it was exciting to watch the team enjoy success from the sidelines knowing he would be joining up with the squad.
"The team's had an unreal year this year and even at the Vuelta with the guys riding GC and Magnus Cort with the two stage wins. It's unreal coming into a team like that and I think everyone is super motivated and its great to be a part of it," he added.
With limited racing in his legs, the next few months are all about building for next season for Power with the aim of completing a full 2017 with Orica-BikeExchange.