All eyes have understandably been on Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo), Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and time trial world champion Rohan Dennis (Bahrain-Merida) in the build-up to the Tour Down Under, but spare a thought for 2013 overall champion Tom Jelte Slagter (Dimension Data).
The Dutchman has been ticking over nicely during the winter and arrives in Australia with the aim of making it onto the overall podium. It’s not an unimaginable goal given that the 29-year-old finished third in last year’s race and returns with an arguably stronger team around him this year.
“I come here with high expectations again,” the modest all-rounder told Cyclingnews at the start of stage 1 in Adelaide.
“I like this year’s course. It’s harder than the ones in recent years. I hope that it’s in my favour, because I’ve trained a lot for this race. Hopefully it pays off. It’s hard to talk about minimum expectations, but the goal is the podium and after that we’ll see.
“In the last 10 years the level has gone up and up and more teams have come here with a higher level and a GC guy," he said. "Last year I did more or less the same time on Willunga as when I won the race, but Richie was faster.”
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Daniel Benson is the Editor in Chief at both Cyclingnews.com and BikePerfect.com. Based in the UK, he has worked within cycling for almost 15 years, and he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he has reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he runs the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.
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