The battle for the Tour Down Under general classification is set to come to a thrilling climax on Saturday, but it’s another battle that Luke Roberts (Saxo Bank) has his focus on. As a South Australian, Roberts is in a fierce competition with UniSA-Australia rider Rohan Dennis for the ‘Tanya Denver Award’, awarded to the best local rider.
"It’s something you always keep in the back of your mind," said Roberts to Cyclingnews. "I think every year it’s a nice little bonus, if you target the GC and you finish up there you’re always a good chance to take the Tanya Denver award. It’s always nice to get up on the podium on the last day there in Elder Park."
Roberts has won the award three times previously, in 2007, 2010 and 2011, but Dennis currently holds the edge with a three-second lead. Something that may play into the hands of the 34-year-old is the state of the King of the Mountain Classification.
Dennis is the current jersey holder and, with two category one climbs up Willunga, the under 23 Australian road champion has stated his intent to take top points on the first climb and guarantee himself the jersey.
"Tomorrow at the bottom of Willunga it will be all or nothing," said Dennis at the end of today’s stage in Tanunda, further adding that the general classification was less of a goal.
Roberts, meanwhile, is firmly targeting the general classification and is extra motivated by the ‘special significance’ of the award. In theory that should be enough for Roberts to overtake the younger Dennis but nothing is guaranteed.
"I’m happy with my form and I hope I can be right up there at Willunga for the finish. We'll see how it goes."