Australian road champion Simon Gerrans (GreenEdge) is one of the pre-race favourites for the 14th Santos Tour Down Under, and told Cyclingnews that arriving in Adelaide, in an Australian team, wearing the national colours was a proud moment.
"It’s an exciting time for myself and for Australian cycling," said Gerrans. "Everyone is really wrapped with this team and what we’ve done so far, now we just have to continue to build on that."
Gerrans has showed already that he's arriving at the Tour Down Under in top form. At the national championships in Buninyong he was a level above on the hilly 163.2 kilometre course, sprinting away from Matthew Lloyd (Lampre-ISD) and Richie Porte (Sky) to take the title. The Australian said that though serious questions would have been asked had the team failed to fire, things had worked out to the tee.
"There was a lot of pressure on GreenEdge leading into the national championships," said Gerrans. "But everyone in the team really knew their role. I was always going to wait for the last few laps, if the race was still together. In the end it was great that I was able to finish it all off the way I did."
Tour Down Under
Leading into the Tour Down Under much has been made of the course change on stage five's Old Willunga Hill, which for the first time will include a hill-top finish. Interestingly, Gerrans played down the significance of the stage, citing stages 2 and 4 respectively as potentially more decisive, and pointed to the race's penchant for surprise winners as something always to watch out for.
"I really don’t think it’s going to be decided on Willunga," said Gerrans. "I think there’ll likely be small group come to the finish there so it’s going to come down to time bonuses – and that'll mean everyday will be really important."
"I also wouldn't be surprised to see a break or two get away. That hasn't been the case in the more recent years of the race, but I think there is definetely more opportunity for that this year."
See the full video interview below.
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