Larry Warbasse's Aqua Blue Sport debut was dealt a blow when stones blocking his salivary glands saw the American bolt off to hospital to have them removed. The 26-year-old quickly recovered to start the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race but has been on the back foot since making his Australian campaign debut.
At the Herald Sun Tour, his second race with the team, Warbasse is still in recovery mode and on antibiotics – but he and his team are plotting a final day all-out assault on the roads of Kinglake, having animated every break of the race thus far.
"I was really hoping to be good for these races and put a lot of time and effort into the preparation and everything. Unfortunately with that whole thing, I haven't been at 100 per cent so that is too bad but that is life I guess," Warbasse told Cyclingnews.
While personally disappointed, the former BMC and IAM Cycling rider added that the performances and results of his teammates, who are still gelling as a squad, has been a highlight.
"I really wanted to start off on a good foot with the new team but it has been awesome because everyone has been riding really well and everyone on the team has been showing themselves amazingly," he said. "Personally, I would like to get some results but I guess I would have to wait a little bit. My big goals are down the road and this is excellent preparation I think."
Sitting 25th overall, Warbasse needs almost two minutes to move up the standings on the final stage around Kinglake. With less than 90 seconds separating the top 12 overall, the stage is sure to be aggressive and Warbasse is aiming to be one of the animators.
"I would like to. We'll see how the legs are but it would be really good to go for the breakaway," he said.
"I think the team definitely wants to make an impression, so whether that's me or someone else, we definitely will be going for it tomorrow."
After his Australian campaign, a brief visit to his European home in Nice follows for Warbasse before he jets to the Persian Gulf for the Tour of Oman. The one-day La Drôme Classic and Les Boucles Drôme-Ardèche follow but with Aqua Blue Sport largely relying on race invites to structure their race schedule, Warbasse's next goals will become clearer once the calendar is confirmed.
"It's just more about being consistent," he said of his early-season aim. "The thing is being a Pro-Continental team, we are still waiting to hear on certain races and everything like that. Once we know more the schedule it will be easier to set targets but right now, I just want to hopefully make a good impression in some races. Which races those will be I don't know yet but we'll see."