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.”