The EF Education First Pro Cycling Team made the headlines last weekend as the final team to launch their eye-catching 2019 Rapha team kit. Accompanying the conspicuous pink fade design in the press release were claims from the team about how they will 'disrupt' the peloton in 2019.
However, after Tuesday's WorldTour opener the team were out of the limelight — Dan McLay was the team's best placed finisher in 13th while teammates took the final three positions on the results sheet. The hope of disrupting the peloton will have to wait a little bit longer, but with more sprint stages and Michael Woods capable of a GC challenge there are more opportunities in the coming days.
The sprint into Port Adelaide was a chaotic affair and the cross headwind, combined with a number of new look sprinter's teams still looking to gel, put an impotence into the idea of a dominant lead-out train from any squad.
Speaking to Cyclingnews after the stage, McLay described the day: "With a bit of a head wind and the break already brought back, you're kind of in the situation where you're just waiting until someone starts it.
"It was pretty hectic but the boys did a good job. We were there perhaps a bit too soon, I should've backed off and got in a wheel a bit sooner as I was pushing some wind in the corners there at the end.
"It was pretty chaotic, a few guys bouncing off the barriers I think they were maybe a bit too excited. I think I had to get out on the right, my normal thing is to wait way too long and duck up on the right-hand side so I was trying to get out but lost too much speed to get out. In hindsight I should've stayed on the left with Viviani but hindsight's great and he's got the momentum at the moment and the instinct, but we'll give it another crack. "
McLay is an underdog in a sprint field including the likes of Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) and stage winner Elia Viviani (Deceuninck – Quick-Step), among a swathe of rising sprint stars at the Tour Down Under, but the Briton will continue to knock on the door in the remaining stage opportunities for the fast men, beginning tomorrow.
"Tomorrow's a more difficult sprint we'll give it a crack and the back end of the week as well.
"The legs feel alright, I think everyone is suffering a bit in the heat. The first little climb in the heat was a bit of a shock to the system but then you start sweating and then you're alright. The circuit wasn't too hot just the hairdryer coming back into town."
McLay and his Education First teammates will brush themselves down and regroup for the upcoming stages at the Tour Down Under and while the team's recent kit launch perhaps lacked modesty, McLay is the opposite, choosing to compliment the strength and depth of the current level of sprinting stars. Perhaps subtly suggesting that his chance may still come.
"At the moment there's so many quick sprinters, there's so many guys who are good enough to win, it's just putting it all together.
"Viviani is on a roll and in good form and a good team and with instinct. Ewan's got the legs when he gets into the right spot but I think they just tried to come in too late and it didn't pan out for them. It's going to be one of those. I don't think — and I might be wrong — but I don't think we'll see a sprinter dominate this race or the season. Maybe this race but not the season."
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