I mentioned “It’s Cycling Time Again” about a week or so back and I am nearly caught up with the 2017 cycling races/tours. There are a few things that stand out after watching the 2017 Santos Tour Down Under:
- Australian Ben O’Connor had and impressive showing. He took off solo early in the preamble criterium race (The People’s Choice Classic) and lasted by himself until lap 19 of 22. The youngster (21 year old) is riding in his first UCI World Tour season with TEAM DIMENSION DATA (DDD.) He is too young to race in the grand tours like Tour de France, but look for big things from him in the future.
- It was good to see reigning Wold Champion, Peter Sagan again. I really enjoy his performances. He doesn’t look like the Peter Sagan of the past few seasons just yet – but there is no better personality in professional cycling. It could actually be that his lead out train is not up-to-speed just yet also. Looking at his performance here, I think he may be set to transition to a GC rider. Perhaps his streak of Green Jersey wins at the Tour de France will give way to a Yellow Jersey this year?
- This marked the debut of the UAE ABU-DHABI (UAD) team – formerly Lampre-Meridia. I expect they have a ton of money behind them.
- I just love the names – some are like familiar friends – Sagan, Tyler Farrar, Robert Gesink, Richie Porte, Geraint Thomas, Ian Stannard, Simon Gerrans and Mark Renshaw. And some are just fun sounding like Gianluca Brambilla.
- BAHRAIN-MERIDIA (TBM) is a brand new team
- The ORICA SCOTT (ORS) team kits (uniforms) look sharp – probably the sharpest of the season. Caleb Ewan is looking to be a major threat in the sprints this season winning the Crit and the first stage. My fav on this team has to be “Turbo Durbo” – Luke Durbridge. This looks to be the strongest team as well.
- TEAM SKY (SKY) is looking to be a powerhouse once again but most their superstars are still training and skipped this tour.
Congratulations to Richie Porte, the overall winner of the Santos Tour Down Under and Caleb Ewan on his four stage wins!
Oh, and Paris-Nice begins today!!
by Chris Doelle