Nathan Haas started his 2017 season at the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic in form but wanting to hide his condition ahead of the Australian national championships to ensure he would fly under the radar.
After claiming bronze in the men's road race, behind victor Miles Scotson (BMC) and Simon Gerrans (Orica-Scott), the Dimension Data man wants the peloton to know he is in form ahead of the Tour Down Under next week.
"You don't want to go into nationals with people knowing you are flying but you want to be going into Down Under with people knowing you are going well because positioning becomes a lot easier if they think you are a real threat," said 27-year-old Haas, who stated he has been hitting over 1600 watts during his sprint training this last week.
Haas' 2014 Tour Down Under is the best of his five starts at the race when he finished fifth overall. In 2017, Haas is more concerned with stage wins than the overall and with a full team in support of his ambitions, he is confident of continuing his good start to the new year.
"It is a good form to show form here today for the next racing. Obviously, it is a WorldTour event so there is a big difference in how the races are ridden and where you can go," said Haas who was full of praise for teammates Lachlan Morton and Ben O'Connor at the nationals who will also join him in Adelaide for the Tour Down Under.
Joining the Australian trio in Adelaide for the race is compatriot Mark Renshaw, along with Reinardt Van Rensburg, Tyler Farrar and Jacques Van Rensburg.
"If we look at how today went, with two riders, add anther five onto that and I am pretty confident that we are going to have a good Tour Down Under," added Haas is also aiming for a high result at the one-day Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race later this month in Geelong, Victoria.
Having put on a show at the national championships on his way to claiming a maiden medal in the elite event, Haas spoke glowingly of his rivals and is hopeful the style of racing will reappear across the Tour Down Under and 2017 season.
"I think what won today was cycling," Haas said of the championships. "That was the coolest race I have been part of for so long and it was exciting and down to the wire. There were all this crazy tactics going on. There were teams pushing it then stopping it, guys jumping off the front. I didn't even know it was going to come together until the every end. If we as cyclists can keep being entertainers in the forum of what we did today, I think cycling can grow as well."
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