McEwen to race himself into form prior to Santos Tour Down Under
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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

McEwen to race himself into form prior to Santos Tour Down Under

by Conal Andrews at 8:30 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour Down Under
 
Australian wants to target national criterium championships

New RadioShack signing Robbie McEwen has lost some training of late due to the disruption of learning that he team he was to compete with in 2011 will not be given a pro continental licence. Having moved from the Pegasus Racing Team to Team RadioShack, he plans to race hard in advance of the Santos Tour Down Under in order to ensure that he is in good form there.

McEwen plans to ride the national criterium and road race championships in Ballerat, plus the Jayco Bay Classic criterium series in and near Melbourne.

“Things have been very, very up in the air for the last couple of weeks," the veteran sprinter told AAP. “Also, [another] consideration is with the weather we've been having in Queensland, we've had a really, really rainy December. I can just use the extra racing.”

McEwen has been national champion in the past and would like to take the distinctive jersey once again in what could well be his final year of racing. He feels the Buninyong circuit is perhaps too difficult for his characteristics, but there is another way for him to take a gold medal: the criterium champs.

“I might as well line up for the national crit and have a hit out ... it's a chance to win a national jersey," he explained. “Then the road race is only a couple of days later ... I wouldn't call myself a favourite on that course, all the good climbers make a point of preparing properly for the nationals at Buninyong.

"It's pretty hard for a sprinter to do something there, but all the same, a good race to ride in the lead-up to the Tour Down Under.”

The Jayco Bay Classic series is also going to be important for his fitness. He’s won that series six times and if things go well, he could once again be in the hunt.

McEwen is one of Australia’s most successful cyclists. He’s won twelve stages in the Tour de France, taken the green jersey three times, and has also clocked up twelve stages in the Giro, twelve in the Tour Down Under and five editions of Paris-Brussels.

He form in the past two seasons has been affected by the effects of a bad crash in the 2009 Tour of Belgium, where he broke his fibia. He also crashed during this year’s Tour de France, hitting the deck when a cameraman walked out in front of him at the end of the sixth stage. That put paid to his hopes of winning a stage, but he dug deep to finish the race in Paris.

He subsequently won a stage of the Eneco Tour, showing the benefits of his persistence.

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