UniSA-Australia has finalised its squad for the Santos Tour Down Under, with Tasmanians Bernard Sulzberger (Raleigh) and Will Clarke (Champion System) earning the last two available spots thanks to their performances in the elite men's road race on Sunday, in Buninyong.
Clarke, who spent last season with Leopard-Trek, was one of the key animators of the 16 lap, 163 kilometre race. Despite lacking teammates he managed to get in several dangerous moves, and though unsuccessful in picking up the title, did pick up fifth place on the day as well as the sprint classification.
Sulzberger meanwhile showed impressive form on the climbs, nearly joining the winning move of Porte, Gerrans and Lloyd in the final laps. His January has gone from strength to strength carrying on from his showing at the recent Jayco Bay Classic series, where he finished fourth overall, fourth again in the criterium championship on Thursday, and tenth on Sunday.
One rider who will feel at least slightly aggrieved is West Australian Anthony Giacoppo (Genesys), who boasts arguably better results than Sulzberger over the past month. Giacoppo won a stage of the Bay Classic series along the way to finishing runner-up overall. He then came to Ballarat where he out-sprinted Mark Renshaw to the line to take out the criterium national title. He wasn't as active as Sulzberger was on Sunday, but in the end he did finish in front of him, in ninth.
Cyclingnews understand that the criterium championships are not considered in the selection process for the UniSA squad. According to a source within Cycling Australia, the elite men's road race is the key focus along with the previous year's performances in other road races.
The UniSA - Australia team for the Tour Down Under will be led by Team Manager, David Sanders and includes:
Bernard Sulzberger (Tas), Will Clarke (Tas), Steele Von Hoff (Vic), Jay McCarthy (QLD), Rohan Dennis (SA), Lachlan Norris (WA), Tom Palmer (NSW)