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A year racing at ProContinental level has steeled Cameron Wurf with the Australian finally returning to a grand tour level after two seasons of bad luck and disappointment. The 29-year-old is back riding with Cannondale and with the announcement that he'll be riding the Giro d'Italia, Wurf said he is "chomping at the bit" to get started.
There has been a significant change for Wurf since 2010 when he last raced the Italian Grand Tour.
"I'm not scared," he told Cyclingnews. "I've certainly been scared in the past so hopefully that's a good sign."
The turning point for Wurf came earlier this season at the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya where he finished 18th overall among impressive climbing company.
"In Catalunya I turned up thinking the way things have gone in the sport, I know what's going to happen," he explained. "I knew what Sky had done and I knew how the races had been. Sure enough I could be looking at my power meter and could basically predict what was going to happen. For me, having such a controlled environment in a race is perfect.
"I still certainly struggle with the fast accelerations or the quicker, out of control conditions that you get in a one day race or a shorter stage... but once everyone gets tired, and that's what I learned at Catalunya. The longer harder days, particularly the ones going uphill are what I tend to prefer."
Riding for Champion System in 2012, Wurf trained harder than ever before and in the off-season back in his native Tasmania, was leaving nothing to chance - all with the aim of hitting the ground running at the first grand tour of the season. The result has been a far more resilient Wurf than in the past but with a Giro start secured with his ride at Catalunya, it still took some convincing from Cannondale to maintain his racing legs. The Giro del Trentino and the Tour of Romandie were added to his schedule, in line with the rest of the Giro squad, where the aim was to race to maintain condition without a winning objective, rather than Wurf's preferred method in the past: training.
"I was really nervous about it because I said that I hadn't raced at this level for a long time and I know I've struggled with the WorldTour level in the past; I'd gained a lot of fatigue," he explained. "They were confident that I was in a condition that I could deal with it so I had to trust them.
"Certainly every training session in the past few months, even every race day, I've kept a little bit more in the tank as opposed to using that little bit that I always used to use," Wurf continued. "It's been a nice feeling getting up in the morning and not having any more fatigue than the day before.
"I won't have that luxury in the Giro, I'm going to have to use up the petrol tank there but that's alright. It's nice that I've been able to save it until now."