Rob Power's 2016 season was far from the ideal first year with Orica-BikeExchange as he would have imagined with rare bone marrow edema delaying his professional career. The 21-year-old has made a full recovery and returned to racing at the Arnhem-Veenendaal, capping off his season with a maiden podium in his sixth and final race of the year at the Japan Cup.
With an albeit limited first season under his belt, Power is aiming for a consistent season to return to the level that saw him finish second overall at the Tour de l'Avenir along with results such as overall Giro della Valle d'Aosta victory and the young rider classification at the Herald Sun Tour.
"It was good to finish the year with a result. It has been a hard year," Power told Cyclingnews of his year and importance of Japan Cup podium. "I still have a long way to go but it gave me confidence to keep training, keep working hard and get ready for next year."
Of the six races that Power rode in 2016, the Tour of Britain was the only stage race he rode. Finishing in 48th position overall, Power was seen on the front of the peloton across several stages in domestique mode for the team who enjoyed a final day stage win with Caleb Ewan. Power was also involved in another victory for the team as he made his debut in a monument at Il Lombardia. The Italian race proved to be historic for the team and Colombian Esteban Chaves who outkicked Diego Rosa for a famous win.
"Chaves at Lombardia was pretty amazing for a Colombian to win a first monument. Lombardia is a hard monument and for Orica-BikeExchange to get the win there was pretty impressive," said Power who enjoyed several Italian one-day wins as a U23. "I would love to go back in the next few years but I think it is a hard race to win and you have to be going well at the end of the year. I think it depends on how the form is but I would love to have a go at Lombardia one year."
With just 13 race days in his legs from 2016, Power's off-season will be spent getting the miles in his legs. Something he is looking forward to in order to get back to fitness for the 2017 season.
"The plan is to get fit again and get a good base in over the summer," said Western Australian Power. "I really enjoy training in Australia so I will be trying to get some big days in and get fit for the upcoming Australian summer races."
With the team currently planning for 2016 and finalising rider programmes, Power is unsure when and where he will be racing but is hoping to start the year on home soil.
"I am not too sure which races I will do at the start of the year. We will go to Canberra and have our meeting about which races we will hopefully do but all the races I would love to do in Australia. It just depends on which races the team puts me in," said Power who has twice ridden the Herald Sun Tour and rode the Tour Down Under in 2015.
Looking beyond the Australian summer and his season objectives, Power is simply aiming for a full-season on the bike and "consistency". Whether that includes a Grand Tour or not, he will have to wait and see.
"I would like to do a grand tour but it depends on how I am going and there are things in play," he said. "The guys had an unreal year this year in the grand tours so I will have to play it by ear and see how I go. I think any neo-pro would love to do a grand tour.
"Trying to get as many race days in as I can and learning as much as I can next year will be the most important things."