Basically when push comes to shove you can either make it happen or you can’t. Rohan told us that his legs weren’t where they needed to be to make it happen in the GC. When you put your hand up and say that you want the team to ride for you, there is a lot of pressure to make a result happen. It’s self-regulating that way, so if you put your hand up, you get the support. Nathan put his hand up. He was confident and we were all confident in him. He was the next logical choice.
The race is warm and the terrain has a bit of everything, so I guess it ticks the right boxes. But it wasn’t really a good race for me in terms of results. Sterling was my best day, I like the circuit. Victor Harbor was my worst day, I missed the split in the wind by a couple of wheels and thought of a few new occupations in the last 30km. But the crowds are good and I like the atmosphere.
If you’re full-gas racing it’s usually all a blur but if you’re just getting up a climb like Corkscrew, you notice the crowd and the atmosphere and the whole scene, which is good. But, ironically, I kinda hate being cheered when you’re not at the front. It feels like you’re letting everyone down.
You have to keep things in perspective, it’s a long year. It’s strange coming from hanging out with my girlfriend and relaxing with my family in Sydney, then jumping into a World Tour race a week later. I was realistic about how I’d prepared compared to Rohan and some of the other guys: my job was to support them. I did that and then when I was done, I did it again the next day. I’d done lots of riding earlier in the season but not much Training. You can’t ride at the front in the World Tour unless you are are 100% prepared. Physically, mentally and emotionally.
I know I have work to do. The first hard race of the year helps you get rid of the romantic view of cycling which you build up during the off season. It reminds you what this game is all about. I need to work on fighting for position, I need increased disregard for other people in the bunch—I have trouble cutting people off or chopping guys if I know it might cause them or myself serious injury. It’s all a mindset. I’m honest about how I feel. Sometimes its positive, sometimes at the end of an exhausting day of giving a damn, there just aren’t anymore damns to give.