One very interested spectator at the start of stage four of the Santos Tour Down Under in Norwood was 2010 Giro d'Italia stage and mountains classification-winner Matthew Lloyd.
The 27 year-old was spotted by Cyclingnews at the Omega Pharma-Lotto team car before his teammates headed for Strathalbyn. Lloyd arrived in Adelaide hours earlier to see the final three stages of the Tour.
The Australian was on a training ride in St Kilda near Melbourne in late December when he was involved in a traffic incident. The result was a broken right rotator cuff and damage to his upper vertebrae. It was an unfortunate end to an otherwise stellar season for Lloyd.
"If I was to spend the whole week here I'd probably go crazy, but that's natural," he said.
"I think the end of this year's race is going to be very exciting. I was going to come down and say hi to everyone anyway but it's good fun.
"We've only got the one World Tour race in Australia so it's a good opportunity to come out and see the race in a manner I've never really experienced before."
Asked if he thought defending champion Andre Greipel, a new-comer to the Omega Pharma-Lotto team in 2011, could go back-to-back, Lloyd was confident.
" It's just a matter of seconds and if he can rack up a few sprint finishes in a good way and hold on to it over tomorrow's stage it will probably come down to the finish line on Sunday which is great.
"For these guys it's a long way from home and it is early in the year. It's a great opportunity for them to get some racing in the heat and kick-start the year."
Greipel is 16 seconds back from race leader Cameron Meyer (Garmin-Cervelo) on heading into Saturday's penultimate stage from McLaren Vale to Willunga.
Recovery on track
Lloyd told Cyclingnews that he was happy with the way his recovery was progressing although frustrated with the time off the bike.
"When it happens you've got to take as much time off as possible," the 2008 Australian open road champion shrugged. "I can put pressure on it now which is good.
"It's probably too optimistic to say I will be back racing in February or something but normally for my season I wouldn't anyway.
"I will go back to Italy on the 29th for the team presentation and start getting the Italian physio and osteo going as early as possible. I want to start getting all set up for the Giro and hopefully the Tour de France to help the team again."
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