The 2017 season kicks off this weekend in Australia, starting on Saturday with the four-day Santos Women’s Tour, which this year has attracted many of the big names and teams in women’s cycling. Sunday, the men will warm up their legs with the People’s Choice Classic before settling into the Tour Down Under, which begins on Tuesday the 17th. Sheree has made the trip to Adelaide and will be bringing you all the news from both the women’s and men’s races.
At the pre-race press conference, three riders who had all performed well in last year’s edition, told us about their aspirations for this year’s race.
Defending champion, Katrin Garfoot (Orica-Scott), who (amazingly) has only been cycling competitively since 2012, was looking splendid in the green and gold national kit having won the double (road race and individual time-trial) last week-end.
I have more experience this year but I’m not sure I have better form. My targets this year are GC at the Giro and the World Championships. I’ll be tapping into the excitement of wearing the national jersey but I really want to see great team work at this event and finish the road stages with the top riders.
Local rider and notable sprinter, Annette Edmondson (Wiggle High5) who’s probably better known for her exploits on the track, won one of last year’s criterium (stage two).
Obviously, it’s an advantage coming from Adelaide but for me it’s about hanging in there on the road stages and performing well in the crits. I’ll be focusing again on both the road and track this year, aiming for the Madison at the Worlds.
Britain’s Dani King (Cylance), another rider with a glittering palmares on the track, won the QOM classification at last year’s Santos Women’s Tour. Dani headed to Australia early and has been enjoying training in the fine weather.
This is a great way to start the season with a block of training and racing. I’m excited about my second road season, I’m riding for a new team and it’ll be nice to test my form but we’ve not yet had our team talk so I don’t know what my role will be on the team [in the race].
Last year’s race came down to finishing positions in the two crits but Monday’s 92.4km lumpy stage to Lyndoch, in the wine-producing Barossa Valley, will probably blow apart the peloton and determine the podium. I’m sure this year’s edition will be another absorbing race. Stay tuned for our race report.
Header: Katrin Garfoot ©Richard Whatley