Haas motivated to return to Jayco Herald Sun Tour as defending champion
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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Haas motivated to return to Jayco Herald Sun Tour as defending champion

by VeloNation Press at 7:40 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Garmin-Sharp rider will compete alongside Gerrans as part of Australian national team

Nathan HaasOver a year after he took the 2011 edition of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour, being the most recent winner of the race, Nathan Haas has expressed his satisfaction at being able to once again compete in the historic Australian event.

The stage race has been moved to a new timeslot in January and while it controversially lost its UCI ranking, thus preventing WorldTour teams from taking part, Haas has been given a green light to compete via selection with the Australian national team.

He will join another former winner on the squad, Simon Gerrans, who has already been confirmed.

“For me it’s awesome,” said a delighted Haas. “I would not have missed it for the world. To be given a spot on the Australian team…well it’s really nice to be considered for that.”

The 23 year old had a solid first season with the Garmin-Sharp team, settling in well after his Jayco Herald Sun Tour win helped to seal a contract with the American setup. He did some good work for the team leaders in the first half of the season, then had more personal opportunities towards the end of the year and grabbed a superb second overall in the Tour of Britain.

Haas initially plays down his chances slightly, but also admits that he would love to perform well in the Australian races. “January is really early to be firing, my calendar has been worked more toward April and May,” he said. “I’m hoping we can really string a good race together, and I’m there wholeheartedly for the guys.”

However he’s by no means settling for a domestique’s role in the Australian events. “I want to do as well as I can in January. The national championships is a huge thing, and would be a great honour to win. That’s something no one takes lightly,” he said. “I also want to go really well at the Tour Down Under but my first and foremost race of importance is the Sun Tour.”

Aside from Gerrans, the national team will also include Vuelta a España King of the Mountains Simon Clarke, another rider who could shine. However Haas recognises that the domestic riders will be working hard to be at a peak for those early events, hoping to surprise the bigger competitors.

“You can’t ever underestimate how hungry the Aussie boys are,” he warned. “The national road series teams will be going full gas, and it’s not going to be that easy even if I’m a more developed athlete to what I was last year. We have our work cut out for us.”

However he’s looking forward to the challenge. “I think it’s going to be a really good fun race and I hope we can put on a good show.”

The sixtieth edition of the race begins on Thursday January 3rd with a 4.8 kilometre prologue in Williamstown. It then continues with three road stages, the last of which finishes on top of the Arthurs Seat climb.

Jayco Herald Sun Tour:

Prologue: Thursday, 3 January – Williamstown ITT – 4.8km
Stage 1: Friday, 4 January - Melbourne (Sunbury) to Bendigo – 144km
Stage 2: Saturday, 5 January - Mitchelton Winery to Healesville – 145km
Stage 3: Sunday, 6 January – Moonah Links to Arthurs Seat – 90km

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