Triumphant Gerrans turns focus towards Herald Sun Tour after Tour Down Under success
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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Triumphant Gerrans turns focus towards Herald Sun Tour after Tour Down Under success

by Shane Stokes at 8:57 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour Down Under
Orica GreenEdge rider wants third Australian success prior to heading to Europe

Simon GerransHaving won the Australian road race championships earlier this month plus his third Santos Tour Down Under today, Simon Gerrans has said that he is focussed on a third major Australian sporting event, where he will hope to take victory prior to flying to Europe and beginning his racing campaign there.

The Orica GreenEdge rider became the first competitor in history to win three editions of the Santos Tour Down Under but, rather than basking in the glow of his latest achievement, appears to be hungry for more success.

“I’m looking forward to racing back in Victoria at the Herald Sun Tour,” said Gerrans, speaking of the race which begins February 5th and runs until the 9th. “We’ll have another strong group of guys there. The goal will be to win the general classification and we’ll be very closely watched there, so the pressure will be on us again. But it will be great to have another opportunity to race on home soil.”

Gerrans fractured his hip during last year’s Vuelta a España and had to take an earlier than planned break from racing. However he turned that to his advantage, stopping sooner than usual but then also being able to get back into training earlier than he might have done.

He has built up strong form as a result of that and took the same Australian championships/Santos Tour Down Under double that he first pulled off in 2012. He went on then to also win Milan-Sanremo and hopes to do the same again this year.

Before then, though, winning a third Herald Sun Tour is his big target.

Gerrans’ morale has taken a huge boost today. “I guess the win is a combination of relief and excitement,” he said after the stage. “It’s a big thrill to have won for a third time. But it’s also a relief because there was a huge amount of expectation on the team this time. So it’s great to finish off with a win, and to back that up and win all these other classifications is just a massive thrill.”

He was quick to praise the other riders on the Orica GreenEdge team, who he said made his task a lot easier. “The team this week was just fantastic,” he stated. “We’ve actually received a lot of praise from everyone here at the race, and that’s a real credit to the guys. Everyone was fully committed and had the same goal of winning the overall in mind. And from day one until today, it’s just been incredible in the way that they managed to do that.”

Directeur sportif Matt White was also glowing in his praise of the squad. “It can’t get much better,” he said. “We really wanted to win a stage and the overall and obviously ticking those other boxes is very gratifying. We put a lot of emphasis on this race. It’s our home tour and we brought our A-Team.

“Everyone committed 100 percent to Simon here. It makes it much easier when you have a leader like Simon who is always on the mark when he targets a race. He delivers time and time again.”

The race outcome is a big boost for the team, which was doing the only WorldTour event it has on home soil. In addition to Gerrans’ overall win, he also took the opening stage plus the points classification. Daryl Impey was a fine seventh overall, and the squad as a whole took the team classification.

Gerrans compared his victory to the two which came before it, in 2006 and 2012 respectively. “This win was probably was probably harder fought for me compared to my past two here; each one been specific and unique,” said Gerrans. “My first was probably a surprise for a lot of people. Then 2012 was GreenEDGE’s first WorldTour event so we were thrilled to get that win.

“This time there was more expectation. We’ve had our best team ever here this year, so that’s made it really special. This victory is really for the team. It’s a credit to them, I just had fantastic support for the whole race.”

He will hope the same backing is evident at the upcoming Herald Sun Tour, knowing that victory there would mark a truly remarkable early-season run of form.


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