2011 was a big year for Jayco Herald Sun Tour champion Nathan Haas, but it seems that next year is only going to be bigger and better.
The 22-year-old will join forces with teammates Tour de France stage winner Heinrich Haussler and Launceston to New Norfolk Classic winner Steele Von Hoff to lead an impressive Bike Bug outfit for the four-race series.
The trio will be joined by Genesys Wealth Advisers pair Anthony Giacoppo and Alex Carver.
Twelve months on from riding in the support race at the Jayco Bay Cycling Classic, Haas returns a completely different rider but the same genuine person.
"What I have become is more patient with the process of trying to get fit and the process of actually being a bike rider," Haas said.
"I have learnt how to suffer a lot more this year, and that the best cyclists are the ones that are not necessarily the ones in the best form but are the ones that can suffer over and over and still perform at a high level on any given day.
"If I actually sit back and have a think about where I am now as opposed to where I was, it is quite humbling.
"This is definitely where I would have liked to have been, riding in a WorldTour team, but I really never thought I would get there in one year and absolutely never thought that I would have the year I did.
"It should actually be a nice reminder of where I was a year ago; it will probably bring back a few memories so it's a nice thing to come back."
Recognising that there are four quality sprinters in a better position to claim the victory for Bike Bug, Haas will put his personal goals aside to play the team role at the Jayco Bay Cycling Classic.
"When we were at the team launch for Garmin-Cervelo, I got speaking with Heinrich and we thought it would be a good start to the season to practice a few lead outs for the upcoming Australian races," Haas said.
"I definitely won't be going for a big sprint myself, we have four other guys that are fantastic sprinters so my role in the team will be to do some hard work and try to bring up some form."
Haas will back up with the national championships in Ballarat before heading to Adelaide to make his WorldTour debut at the Tour Down Under.
"The Bay Crits will be my first racing of 2012 season, and my first in a race as a signed rider. It's a pretty cool thought for me that my first few races for a WorldTour team are all happening in Australia," Haas said.
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