Bates puts Comm Games behind him; now it's time to think about La Primavera
"Not at all" disappointed after hearing the news of only making the shadow team for the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, former under 23 Australian champion Gene Bates will simply focus on holding his good early season good form and aim for a stage win at the Tour de Langkawi in Malaysia, his objective being to prove his worth for a place at the team's first major outing of the year, Milan-San Remo. Cyclingnews correspondent at the Tour de Langkawi, Anthony Tan, reports.
"I actually didn't get notified of that, but I guess the selection only came out yesterday. I think it would be fantastic to ride the Commonwealth Games. I've always watched it since I was a kid and it means a lot to Australians, but realistically, if I can forge a career in Europe first, that's far more important," Gene Bates told Cyclingnews at the start of the second stage of the Tour de Langkawi in Tanjung Malim.
"There's plenty of racing to do without coming back to Australia. If it was the Olympic Games, then maybe it'd be a different story," he said when asked if he was disappointed. "So I don't think so... nah, not at all."
This year marks the 24 year-old's first year as a professional, despite earning the U23 green and gold stripes two years ago at the 2004 Australian open road championships in Ballarat, Victoria. Last year, Bates rode with one of Italy's top amateur teams, Zalf-Desiree-Fior, where victory at the Piccola San Remo and almost 20 podium finishes saw him as the number one-ranked amateur in the country for two months, bringing his name to the attention of his current squad, LPR.
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