A successful debut season in the U23 ranks with the Australian WorldTour Academy team in Europe has seen Michael Storer earn selection in the national teams for the Tour Down Under, Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race and the Herald Sun Tour to kick start his 2017 season. Storer will be making his WorldTour debut at next month's Tour Down Under with the wild card UniSA-Australia team having ridden the other two events in 2016.
Storer was just 18 when he rode the 2016 Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, finishing in 19th place and winning the young rider jersey, and the Herald Sun Tour where he was 20th overall and 12th on the queen stage up Arthurs Seat where Chris Froome (Team Sky) took the win. Those performances along with victory at the GP Poggiana and seventh overall at the Tour de l'Avenir suggested Storer will be a rider to watch in the years to come and will now get to test himself against the likes of Esteban Chaves (Orica-Scott) and Richie Porte (BMC) in a WorldTour environment.
"It's the one I am looking forward to the most. I have watched it on TV the past years and it looks like a great race," Storer told Cyclingnews of his selection for the Tour Down Under.
Storer's only previous racing experience around Adelaide came back in 2015 at the Adelaide Tour, a National Road Series (NRS) event, and therefore is placing an emphasis on soaking in as much as possible at the race. However, an ambitious Storer will start the race with several personal goals as he explained.
"Experience is the most important thing. It's a race that I am going to try and get a result and target things like the young rider jersey but I haven't ridden in a race with all professional riders. Cadels Race was '50-50'," he said. "I think I should be ok because I have done some hard races before and I have done Cadels Race and it shouldn't be too much faster as it's the same kind of field."
In 2017, the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race is a WorldTour event with 13 top tier teams confirmed for the January 29 event. Despite the greater depth in quality, Storer isn't overly fazed by the competition and is looking to better his 2016 result
"I want to try and get another top-20 result at Cadels race and place better than I did this year. The field will be tougher so it will be challenging but exciting as well," he said.
The third race on Storer's race programme over summer with the national team is the Herald Sun Tour where he is looking to test himself against Froome and Chaves on the challenging stage 1 to Falls Creek, and the final day circuit race around Kinglake. With previous experience in the stage race, Storer is aiming high with several different aims as he explained.
"I need to take it as it comes. There are a few things I can target like the young rider classification, KOM jersey or even a stage at the Herald Sun Tour. I am also aiming to gain more experience and chase some results there," he said.
A junior Worlds time trial medallist and multiple Oceania junior time trial medallist, Storer has shown he can ride against the clock. However, it is in the mountains where his talents shine and along with Lucas Hamilton and Jai Hindley, the trio are emerging as Australia's next wave of GC talents. Come the end of the Australian international summer of racing, their reputations could well be enhanced with confirmation of their talents on Willunga Hill and Falls Creek.