Taking out the opening stage at the Woodside Tour de Perth was not about trying to repeat the early success that Team Budget Forklifts experienced in 2012, according to the day's winner Jack Anderson. This season is not about living up to the expectations from season's past, it's about giving his best, providing guidance and advice the younger riders on the squad and just continuing to enjoy life on the bike again - something which Anderson says he had lost at the end of his second year with Endura Racing.
One season spent racing with the Team Sprocket in 2010 and then two years with Endura Racing in the UK almost spelled the end of Anderson's career, that was until his he decided to pack up and return to Australia to race with his former Budget Forlifts squad. The Queenslander considered retirement at the end of 2012 but with a life now balanced between racing, training and working Anderson is enjoying cycling as much as ever.
"I'd had enough of racing over there," he told Cyclingnews. "The main reason was that I just wasn't enjoying it anymore. It became my job. I was pretty close to hanging it up all together.
"It's nice to get some enjoyment out of racing again. It's not my full-time job anymore, I've got a full-time job in Brisbane so to come away here is a completely different atmosphere to racing on a pro team that's for sure.
"It's like anything; if you enjoy what you do you will never 'work' a day in your life. Unfortunately last year I wasn't really enjoying it and it did become work so now I'm reinvigorated. I still loved the sport but so many people have said to be that they've never loved the sport so much until they have retired from professional cycling. That's certainly proven to be the case because now it's really nice, I'm enjoying it a lot."
The team's sports director Cam Watt had put the word out that the team expected to get off to a good start at the four-day tour, adding "we set the bar last year [at Mersey Valley Tour] and we are looking to match that again this year, for sure," Watt told Cyclingnews. Anderson, who joined the team at the start of the year and pulled on the first race leader's jersey of the 2013 Suburu National Road Series was unwilling however, to dwell on the successes of the season prior.
"Everyone keeps comparing last year to this year but this year is a different team, there are still some of the core guys but its just nice to repay Budget and all the other sponsors for all the hard work and the commitment they have given us.
"To get the season off to a winning start is always nice and to do it over in Perth is even better," Anderson told Cyclingnews.
Anderson anticipated the sprint and jumping early to take the stage while his teammate had the legs to finish second from the original eight-rider break that formed after the first of four laps around Rottnest Islan. With Anderson's time trial pedigree, he's now looking to take the jersey all the way to the final stage around Perth on Sunday.
"One guy nipped off the front in the last k and no one wanted to lead it out, everyone was kind of looking at each other so I shot out after him with about 500, 400 to go. They tried to get on me but I think I took the last corner a bit quicker and had enough in the tank to sprint and hold them off. I'm not the quickest guy in the world but if I could from a little way out and get a gap I ca hold them off. Sam was following the wheels and got second which was awesome.
"The time trial will seed everyone into their rightful place and that will sort out the GC itself. Then we can go from there. I want to go into it and keep the jersey until Sunday, of course. We have eight strong guys here so the goal is to win the bike race."
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