Having spent the last two seasons with Belkin and the two seasons before that in the Saxo set up, David Tanner continues his career in the WorldTour with IAM Cycling in 2015, which is a move the Australian is delighted to have made.
"I'm really excited and motivated about the new team and looking forward to working for the leaders there," Tanner told Cyclingnews. "Hopefully I'll get my own chance every now and then to try for myself which is always good as well. I'm back to working with my old coach Ben Day and we are making a few changes to how I do things which seem to be working well, so I'm looking forward to next year."
The 2014 season is one that Tanner won't look back on too fondly after injury ended any hopes on building on an encouraging tenth place at the Australian nationals in early-January.
"To be honest this hasn't been the best of years, but it's been a year of learning and gaining experience, so I least gained that from 2014," Tanner said of how he judged his season. "I worked fairly hard over the winter and was in good condition for January as that was the plan, but the nationals didn't go very well and I crashed heavy in stage 1 of Tour Down Under (TDU) and broke my collarbone. I never seemed to get it back to a good level for the rest of the year."
While recovering from his broken collarbone, the form and condition that Tanner had built over the pre-season started to disappear, forcing him to play catch-up for the remainder of the year.
"January was a big disappointment. Over the past few years I'd gained enough confidence to give January in Australia a good crack, which together with the team was what we decided to do," he said. "I knew what we were up against for the nationals and in the end that just turned out to be a big hit out for TDU. But it was disappointing to crash out on the first stage and not know how I could have gone with the form I had. It was the first time I'd really gone to Adelaide with ambition and a good level."
Despite the disappointments of 2014, Tanner reiterated that the season wasn't a complete write off with plenty of lessons to be learned from his fourth year at the top level of the sport.
"I never got back to the same level I had in January. Through some mistakes I made in training and other problems I had during the year," he said. "But like I said, it's all learning and experience and I hope the same mistakes and problems won't be repeated in the future."
After the Tour Down Under, it took three attempts before Tanner finished a race with a number against his name, recording a DNS, OTL and DNF before finishing 144th at La Flèche Wallonne. Four days later and he was 132nd at Liège–Bastogne–Liège. It was the second straight year that Tanner had done all three of the Ardennes classics, the other being the Amstel Gold Race, which was a special week for the 30-year-old as he explained.
"The Ardennes races are my favourite of the year, as a young kid growing up, I dreamt of doing those races and it something I really enjoy working towards," he said. "It's my favourite terrain to race in and the whole atmosphere is incredible."
Despite a lack of racing kilometres in his legs, Tanner's next outing was a debut appearance at the Giro d'Italia, helping teammate Wilco Kelderman finish seventh overall.
The three week race was the closest thing resembling a highpoint of the season as Tanner explained.
"There wasn't really a highlight to be frank," he said. "I was proud to finish the Giro. I wasn't really in good shape going in to it and suffered most of the race far more than usual. I was forced to change saddles after the third stage and I don't respond well to stuff like that. There were plenty of moments after a few crashes, and as I was not feeling good on the bike, I wanted to go home.
"But I was determined to stay and do what I could for our leader Wilco Kelderman and not have a DNF beside my name. So I guess that was my highlight, even though not a very good one."
Tanner is looking to start the 2015 season in the best way possible with his new team as he looks "to get back to the level I had last year for a start," and will do on home soil. Something he isn't taking for granted.
"The nationals and TDU are back on the calendar, so I'll head back to Australia just before Christmas which will be nice to see the family and friends and have another go at the races back there in January," he said. "Being an Aussie we don't get many opportunity's to race at home so I'm looking forward to it."
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