Extending with Saxo Bank-SunGard, Luke Roberts to target Tour Down Under
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Friday, November 04, 2011

Extending with Saxo Bank-SunGard, Luke Roberts to target Tour Down Under

by VeloNation Press at 8:39 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour Down Under
 
Australian feels 2012 parcours could set him up for big result

Luke RobertsAustralian rider Luke Roberts will ride his fifth season with the Saxo Bank SunGard team in 2012 after confirmation that his contract has been renewed. He is aiming to be out of the blocks in strong form, with the sport’s first WorldTour event figuring big on his radar for next season.

“My first goal of the season will be Tour Down Under. I finished inside top ten in the GC the last two years without really ideal preparation,” he said. “So now to be able to prepare and focus on that race, and the fact that it has a mountain top finish that could take some of the sprinters out of the GC, is my chance of a top result. For sure I will be looking at getting a score on the board there. Then I would be keen on riding a Grand Tour again.”

The 34 year old finished tenth last year and won the mountains classification. One year earlier, he was fifth overall, and so the Santos Tour Down Under has become a race that he wants to progress even further in. In fact, he has said that the finish on Willunga Hill could give him the platform to win the race outright; that thought will motivate him to get into the best shape possible in the next two months.

Roberts has had a solid career, with a stage victory in the 2001 Tour Down Under and Olympic gold three years later in the team pursuit being two highlights. His recent results including fifth on a stage of the 2010 Tour de France and victory on stage three of the Tour of Murcia that same year. He was with the Milram team at the time, but moved back to Saxo Bank SunGard last winter.

Roberts feels most at home on the Danish team. He had previously been part of the setup between 2005 and 2007, and is glad to extend after returning a year ago. Today’s news follows speculation that he could be going to GreenEdge, but he’s staying put with the team he knows best. “I'm extremely grateful and happy to be able to continue to work with Bjarne Riis and his staff,” he said. “In my opinion this is probably the best team in the world, when it comes to organization and helping riders to achieve their maximum in their career.”

Riis recognises him as both a big engine that helps drive his riders along and also, fitness aside, as someone who brings other important elements too.

“Luke has been solid throughout the season and yet again shown he is both a strong and versatile rider that the team can rely on in all kinds of races. At the same time he brings important experience and great spirit, so I'm pleased he has agreed to stay with us for another season,” he said.

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