The most recent winner of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour Nathan Haas has been added to the Australian National Team for the 2013 edition that will begin in Williamstown on 3 January. Haas won the title in 2011 on the back of a stunning domestic season that landed him a contract with the current Garmin-Sharp WorldTour squad.
Haas had signaled his desire to return to the iconic tour that "kicked off" his professional career and will line up alongside former two-time winner Simon Gerrans and this year's King of the Mountains winner at the Vuelta a España, Simon Clarke in the Australian National team.
"For me it's awesome, I would not have missed it for the world. To be given a spot on the Australian team, well it's really nice to be considered for that," said Hass.
"It's a great race to be part of a winning team and I remember the vibe my team had and the spirit it gave the group after we won it last year, it was like nothing I had ever felt before," Haas said.
While Haas would love to repeat the victory his achieved in the previous edition, he understands his season is based around other goals which come later in the year. For this reason, Haas was hesitant to suggest he'll be in race-winning condition.
"January is really early to be firing, my calendar has been worked more toward April and May.
"I'm hoping we can really string a good race together, and I'm there wholeheartedly for the guys."
Having graduated from the domestic scene and his former Genesys Wealth Advisers squad, Hass knows that the local teams will be coming into the race with top form. Capturing the overall title with the Australian team won't be an easy feat, says Haas who won his title in 2011 over Jack Bobridge - who rode for Garmin-Cervélo at the time.
"You can't ever underestimate how hungry the Aussie boys are, the national road series teams will be going full gas, and it's not going to be that easy even if I'm a more developed athlete to what I was last year."
"We have our work cut out for us, I think it's going to be a really good fun race and I hope we can put on a good show," added Haas.
Following the Sun Tour Hass will set his eye on riding well at the Australian National Championships in Ballarat and then look to the Tour Down Under where he will be part of an "explosive" Garmin-Sharp team.
"I want to do as well as I can in January, national championships is a huge thing, and would be a great honour to win, that's something no one takes lightly, I also want to go really well at the Tour Down Under but my first and foremost race of importance is the Sun Tour.