Young BMC Racing recruit Tim Roe is anticipating the opportunity to return to the Santos Tour Down Under after being named in the team's starting list for the first ProTour of the 2011 season, which gets underway January 18 in Adelaide, Australia.
During the 2010 edition of the event, Roe showed his hand on the opening stage to Tanunda as part of the UniSA lineup (pictured right); while the day was won by André Greipel in a big bunch kick, the young South Australian climbed well on the lumpier section of the day's parcours and caught the eye of teams around the world, one of those being BMC Racing.
It was a similar experience to that of fellow South Australian Jack Bobridge, who went on the attack late in the first stage of the 2009 race - garnering the public admiration of Lance Armstrong - and went on to sign a pro contract with Garmin-Transitions.
"[Tour] Down Under this year was definitely an eye-opener; it showed me how the race can take you from being a nobody to being someone people recognise," Roe told Cyclingnews the day that BMC Racing's team was announced. "I also realised that it's an important pro race, one worth training for."
And train he has been doing, explaining that he recently rode the third stage, which finishes with an uphill burst in Stirling, behind a motorbike.
"Stirling's good - I did it behind the motorbike two days ago and I was slower then but I hope to be a lot faster in a couple of weeks' time! Maybe it's a little too explosive finish for me, so maybe Willunga is a stage in which I can do something," said Roe
"I can try to target the KOM there - I've been training on it - and I'll be as ready as I can be."
Whilst the Tour Down Under is generally regarded as a sprinter's event and BMC Racing is taking Alexander Kristoff to represent it in the likely fast finishes, Roe says that he hopes he can have a little leeway to take something from the event
"I'm not sure what my role with the team will be; I definitely want to take something out of the tour - whether it's being up there overall or targeting the king of the mountains jersey. But I'll see what they [team management] want me to do - I'm keen to do something," Roe explained.
And the broken collarbone - suffered at the Tour de l'Avenir - that put Roe out of the UCI Road World Championships in Geelong, Australia, in October, is fully healed; even the enforced time taken off from training shouldn't hamper his 2011 preparations. "The collarbone's good - it's just annoying sometimes but it's all healed now. In fact, if you have to break it, I did it at a good time of the year. It was pretty much the off-season when it happened," he said.
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