Jack Bobridge planning ahead prior to pro debut at Tour Down Under
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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Bobridge planning ahead prior to pro debut at Tour Down Under

by Conal Andrews at 8:33 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour Down Under

Jack Bobridge is now just three days away from making his professional debut with the Garmin-Transitionsteam. The world under 23 time trial champion will don argyle and pin on a number for the Cancer Council Helpline Classic on Sunday, a preliminary event before Tuesday’s start proper of the Santos Tour Down Under.

The 20 year old is understandably excited to take the first step on what should be a long, successful pro career, but also has the good sense to take things gradually. As the cliché goes, haste makes waste, and he realises that he should aim to improve year by year rather than pushing himself too hard, too soon.

“At the moment my new team Garmin-Transitions are pretty happy to give me good experience on the road until after the London Olympics in 2012,” he wrote on his personal website Jackbobridge.com. “There are no real massive expectations. But I’m sure along the way I’ll hopefully pick up a few good results here and there.

“I suppose anything’s possible but I’ll probably try and stay away from the Tour until after London, when I can really go into it and be ready. First things first, being able to make my debut with Garmin riding the Tour Down Under is going to be awesome.”

Bobridge showed his ability with a very strong season in 2009. Apart from that world title, he also won the Under 23 Rund um den Henninger Turm/Eschborn-Frankfurt City Loop classic, as well as netting two stages plus third overall in the Under 23 Thüringen Rundfahrt. He took track golds in the Australian and Oceania championships, as well as Australian Under 23 road and time trial titles, and was one of the most aggressive riders in the Tour Down Under. His potential is clear.

Solid climber, good sprinter:

Apart from being mentally strong, the Adelaide rider is a powerful all rounder. He gave an assessment of his climbing and sprinting abilities. “I think I look at myself as someone who can definitely climb,” he said, “but when it comes to massive climbs I think it’s still a bit of an unknown.

“I think as the years go on and I continue to ride in the professional ranks and I get stronger and more powerful, doing the natural thing of getting leaner and dropping a lot of weight, there’s nothing to say that after getting all the pro tours under my belt that I can’t race at 65 kilos. The power I can hold for a sustained time says that I should be able to climb with the big guys.”

That’s something that will only be certain in the future, but right now he is able to mix with the big guns in the sprints. He concedes that he can’t win bunch gallops, yet appears confident about the thoughts of sprinting from a small group.

“My top end speed is really good but it’s getting to that top end speed where I lack a little bit of punch,” he said. “I’m the type of sprinter who will go a lot earlier, where Robbie McEwen and Mark Cavendish will leave it up to the last 100m or as late as possible because they have such a good kick. I’m the type of rider who will be starting my sprint from 250 and getting quicker and quicker…I’ve got that real good high power I can hold from riding team pursuit.

“While I wouldn’t say I’m a bunch sprinter, I would see myself as a good sprinter in a breakaway of say 10-20 riders when it comes down to that kind of stage finish. I would like to see myself as a Stuart O’Grady-type, where if it’s been a real hard, tough stage….you can be right up there [at the front of the group at the finish].”

O’Grady has been one of the most successful of the current crop of Australian professionals, winning bunch sprints as well as races like Paris-Roubaix. There’s clearly some admiration there for what he has achieved.

“Stuey has always been an idol of mine because he’s from the same state, and because people have always said to me as I was coming up how I was ‘the next Stuart O’Grady’,” Bobridge explained. “That gives you good motivation. As a young guy I heard his name, my dad would talk about him so respectfully. So of course you pay attention to him and his results. To watch him win the Tour Down Under when I was quite young and win stages - how good was that?”

The two will line out together in next week’s ProTour event, ageing champion and young prodigy. O’Grady’s had his preparation curtailed due to a bout of pneumonia in December, so he may have a quiet race. Bobridge is likely to be different; it’s very early days in his pro career, but this aggressive, ambitious rider is out to make a strong impression and is likely to thrown down the gauntlet on at least one of the stages.


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