Fifth overall, Italy's Diego Ulissi (UAE Abu Dhabi) topped the tally of European riders with finishing fifth at the Santos Tour Down Under behind Australians Richie Porte, Jay McCarthy, Nathan Haas and the so-called "Colombian kangaroo" Esteban Chaves.
"My conclusion of my third Tour Down Under is very positive," Ulissi told Cyclingnews in Adelaide. "My condition isn't at its best yet. But yesterday up to Willunga, I balanced my efforts really well. I let it go when they started climbing very fast and I made it up to reach the summit in a great position [5th overall]."
"It was important for the team to score a few WorldTour points," the Tuscan continued. "To make the top 5 means a fair bit of points. We had some ambitions coming here and we've made it, also with the newcomers in the teams. [Norwegian rouleur Vegard Stake] Laengen is a very important asset to the squad, in the finale and during the stage, when there are cross winds he keeps us covered. [Britain's Ben] Swift, we know his potential, he'll be our man for Milan-San Remo. Coming from a great team, he brings a lot of experience, he knows how to race."
Ulissi's next races will be the Laigueglia Trophy and the GP degli Etruschi, "after which we'll have our home race, the Abu Dhabi Tour. We'll try to do well there for sure. Then I'll do Paris-Nice, the Volta al Pais Vasco, the Ardennes Classics, then we'll see…
"With regards to which Grand Tour I'll take part in this year, we'll take a decision next week. I've never done the Tour de France and I'd like to do it. It might be the right year for doing it. It's also the Giro 100, so it remains an hypothesis but it's difficult to do two Grand Tours in such a short period of time. Since I've been racing as a pro, I never missed a Giro, I'd like to experience the Tour. I like both routes… So time comes for making a decision with the team."
"For sure it's something new to represent a country, the UAE. Since I turned pro, I always carried the same name, Lampre. I feel a bit sad to leave the Galbusera family. They have given me so much but now it's a new project. We'll give it all to make it a success. We've started on the right foot here in Australia."
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