A rejuvenated Jonathan Cantwell says that while he holds his current Australian Criterium Championship jersey dear, it's the road race title he'll be chasing in January.
Cantwell, who recently signed with Saxo Bank for next season, will be returning to Europe for the first time since his 2004-05 season as an amateur, having spent recent years racing in the United States with the V Australia and Jittery Joe's squads. With the focus off criterium racing, the 29-year-old says the road race is a genuine target.
"I'm going to be doing my best to defend the Australian Criterium Championship and I should be in some pretty good form to get around that road race as well," Cantwell told Cyclingnews.
"The criterium is not a huge race for Saxo Bank to worry about, if I win it, I win it. The road race is more of a goal this year for me. You can't wear the national criterium jersey over in Europe so it doesn't really mean anything but having said that it's a huge privilege and honour to win your Australian Championships – it doesn't matter whether it's the criterium, time trial or road race. It's going to be on your wall for the rest of your life. It's a small objective to do well in the criterium, but it's a priority to go well in the road race."
Cantwell is due in Europe this weekend where he'll meet with his Saxo Bank teammates first in Copenhagen and then will move on to Israel for the team training camp. Although he is yet to nail down his race schedule, Cantwell explained he should be lining up for the Jayco Bay Cycling Classic ahead of the Australian Open Road Championships in Ballarat later the same week. He's then hoping to make his Saxo Bank WorldTour event debut at the Santos Tour Down Under.
Although his off-season got off to a stressful start until agreeing to terms with Bjarne Riis' outfit, the Queenslander has been busy, spending a lot of time in the gym and working on building his strength in the aim of creating a base for the depth and the transition from racing in the US to Europe.
"I'm definitely a lot more focussed than what I've ever been in my life," Cantwell admits. "If I feel like having a lazy day, I know I've got the motivation to say, hey, no, you've got this opportunity now and you've been waiting for this for so long so there's no such thing as a lazy day for me anymore."
What has Cantwell most excited though is the added motivation his recent announcement has given him.
"I've never had real direction with my training and performance," he explains. "Saxo Bank's got this infrastructure where there's so many trainers and physicians and then four directors. When you've got so many people working with you and for you, I just can't wait to get involved and step up a few levels."
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