Waiting for the WorldTour

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Everyone becomes a little restless in the run to the WorldTour season opener as they bide time in the race hotel.

The European contingent typically enters the Tour Down Under on the back of training so interviews are centered on aspirations for the season ahead or reflections of the previous year.

The peloton is a mix of seasoned campaigners and fresh-faced debutants, the latter who all have a story to tell at the conclusion of the six-stage race.

Rohan Dennis still vividly recalls his first appearance here. He was sitting on Andre Greipel’s wheel when patron Bernhard Eisel, in the jostle for position, introduced him to cycling’s hierarchy.

“Don’t even think about it,” warned the Austrian who was then racing for HTC-Highroad and its two sprinters Matt Goss and Mark Cavendish.

Dennis returns to the race with Garmin-Sharp this month in a more established position following a string of wins and Tour de France debut last year.

This time Aussie compatriot Caleb Ewan is the new kid on the block making his first WorldTour race appearance with the composite UniSA-Australia team.

Ewan was in the mix alongside Marcel Kittel and Andre Greipel in the race prelude on Sunday with the home crowd rising to its feet to watch the pint-sized 19 year old sprint up the home straight.

Meanwhile, Frank Schleck is back alongside old sparring partners in his return from a one-year doping ban. Schleck doesn’t appear as focused as Orica-GreenEdge’s Simon Gerrans, though, whose lean frame signaled overall ambitions.

Related links

Tour Down Under 2014 coverage