It is still Tuesday somewhere. The seasons for many pros are just days away and with that some U23s are getting a golden opportunities to bump elbows with, if everything goes well, future colleagues. In Australia, composite and national teams were announced for the Tour Down Under and Herald Sun Tour while in Argentina, a few U23s are getting a chance at the Tour de San Luis.
Tour Down Under
The UniSA team is back with a mix of riders on the 2015 squad including U23 riders in double national champion Miles Scotson, Robert Power, Jack Haig and Alexander Edmondson. They are also joined by ex-World Tour riders Jack Bobridge and Steele Von Hoff as well as nationals bronze medalist Neil van der Ploeg.
Obviously this is just meant to get the younger riders some experience but with some of these riders, you have some riders that can ride in the top 20 overall. Jack Haig was 17th overall last year and best young rider. Robert Power can ride just as well as Jack Haig when he is on form so it would be quite a coup if they could both get into the top 20. This isn't looking at the obviously on-form Scotson, who torched both the time trial and road race at nationals with no one able to hold his wheel. They will be in the breakaways but if they took a stage win? Hell, with the U23 riders and a guy like Von Hoff with a leadout from Bobridge...I'm thinking too perfect world but it would be fucking insane.
Herald Sun Tour
Also announced was the roster for the Herald Sun Tour, which will be taking place from February 4th through the 8th down around Melbourne. For that, there is going to be a National Team as well as a Jayco-AIS team, which will feature riders that you will see in Europe.
The National Team features U23 riders Chris Hamilton, the MTB cross-over who won the U23 criterium title, and France-based Nick Schultz along with the Morton brothers, Von Hoff and elder statesman Cam Wurf. Hamilton hasn't raced much on the road and this will be a learning event for him. Schultz is a good climber so this shouldn't be a bad one for him.
The Jayco-AIS squad will have Haig, Power, Harry Carpenter, Ryan Cavanagh, Jack Beckinsale and Alex Clements. You know about Haig and Power. Haig was 3rd overall here last year thanks to getting into a big breakaway but Arthur's Seat will make it a different ballgame this year. Young team but getting Haig or Power on the podium should be the goal.
I'm not crying for you Argentina but I am weeping on the inside about how warm you are and how you are going to have some good racing soon.
Italy is sending a national side that includes U23s Davide Ballerini and Simone Petilli. Ballerini is a good all-arounder that can break away (he won a hard stage in the An Post Ras in 2014) and has a good sprint on him. Petilli can climb well but is still young so will just be looking to finish.
Colombia will be sending U23s in sprinter Fernando Gaviria as well as strong time Rodrigo Contreras. Argentina's national side will be anchored by Lucas Gaday, who just signed with Unieuro Wilier Trevigiani in Italy.