The 2017 World Tour season opener is upon us as the Tour Down Under gets underway on the 17 of January. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka is excited to be in Australia for the 2nd year in succession, particularly with our 4 Australian riders raring to go in front of their home crowd.
Once again, the Tour Down Under will take shape over 6 road stages around Adelaide and South Australia. While the World Tour stage race officially starts on Tuesday the 17th, the traditional People’s Choice Classic Criterium will take place on Sunday the 15th and is sure to whet the appetite for what is to come over the following week.
Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka will approach the Tour Down Under with great ambition, targeting stage victories as well as a possible high finish on GC. A good GC performance will once again come down to consistency but with emphasis being placed on 2 key stages, stage 2 finishing in Paracombe and stage 5 finishing on Willunga Hill.
Each stage will be an opportunity for victory though and our 7 riders will take every opportunity to raise awareness for Qhubeka down under. Nathan Haas showed his form is where it needs to be after the Australian national championships and he will lead our African Team at the Tour Down Under. Mark Renshaw showed last year with two 2nd place stage finishes that the sprint finishes certainly suit him. Lachlan Morton, Ben O’Connor, Tyler Farrar, our South African champion Jaco Venter and Jacques Janse van Rensburg will complete our line-up for the Tour Down Under.
Nathan Haas – Rider
It feels like the African Team has become a home for a few of the Australian sons of cycling. We have Australians here are all ripped, raring and ready to go here. Two of the Africans are here as well in Jacques and Jaco who have just come from a hot climate. Tyler has just come from training in Maui so we have 7 guys here who are super motivated, used to the heat and ready to get the first World Tour race off to what we believe will be a good start.
Alex Sans Vega – Sport Director
We are happy to start the season once again in Australia and particularly with this group. It is probably the best scenario for us to start the season because we have 4 Australian’s in our roster which is really special. A stage win will be great to achieve but we must be ambitious and we think we can target a top 10 on GC, so we will consider both options and not just stick to one. We also hope to take some good form from this race into the start of the European season.