Turtur tips Greipel, but says any one of 20 riders could win Tour Down Under
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Friday, January 08, 2010

Turtur tips Greipel, but says any one of 20 riders could win Tour Down Under

by Conal Andrews at 12:04 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 

Tour Down Under Mike Turtur is counting down the days until the start of his event, and believes that the 2008 champion Andre Greipel (Team Columbia) will be one of the biggest favourites.

"He's been doing a lot of pre-tour training, including lead-out training in Germany before they came here," Turtur said, according to Ozcycling. “He's in good nick and he wants to do well after last year's mishap. So I wouldn't be surprised if he stood up again.”

Greipel dominated the race two years ago, winning the Tour Down Under Classic (the criterium before the official start of the tour) as well as four stages. He also took home the yellow and green jerseys. He headed back last year as defending champion but hit a parked motorbike and dislocated his shoulder. He was able to return to racing later in the spring and went on to take a number of victories, including four stages plus the points classification in the Vuelta a España.

Greipel is heading back and will be one of Columbia HTC’s big hitters but, with riders like Lance Armstrong, Cadel Evans and Alejandro Valverde also due to take part, the list of potential victors is a large one.

“This field is the best we've ever had by a mile," Turtur enthused. “I don't like to make predictions but there's probably 20 guys who can win. Anything can happen in this race, it's the riders who make it hard. So when we drop the red flag, I guarantee they will attack.

"The riders are really keen to do well, they want to impress their teams early in the season."

One of those who will be keen to impress is last year’s winner Allan Davis. He’s recently moved from Quick Step to Astana and will undoubtedly be motivated by the chance to shine again on home soil. However Turtur has said that he is not sure that Davis will challenge this time round.

A home rider who will certainly make an impression is the new Garmin-Slipstream rider Jack Bobridge. He was one of the most aggressive last year and is thought to be in good form.

"Jack has had an amazing year, making his ProTour debut at the Santos Tour Down Under, going on to sign with Garmin-Transitions and then winning the U23 Time Trial at the World Championships", said Turtur.

"As a local lad he knows the stage routes well, which will put him at an advantage. Jack is massively competitive, and with his home crowd cheering him on hell be aiming to do well and show what he is capable of."

Other big-name Australian riders are Chris Sutton (Team Sky), Robbie McEwen (Katusha), Graeme Brown (Rabobank), Luke Roberts (Milram), plus the Garmin Transitions trio of Cameron Meyer, Trent Lowe and Matthew Wilson.

The inaugural Tour Down Under victor Stuart O'Grady will also ride, but said that he doesn’t have the form to win after a recent bout of pneumonia.

This year’s programme begins on January 17 with the Cancer Council street race in Adelaide. The Santos Tour Down Under begins properly on January 19.

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