Simon Gerrans doesn’t want to waste any time to make a good impression on his new bosses at Team Sky.
The Aussie attacker has targeted victory at one of the Ardennes classics as an early season goal as he joins the startup British team with new motivation and new ambitions.
“Probably my No. 1 goal for the year (is) the Ardennes classics,”
Gerrans told Australia’s Associated Press. “I will have a fairly well-protected position on the team, I really want to hit my straps there and hope for a result.”
Gerrans is no stranger to the Ardennes, riding to top 10 finishes in all three of the hilly classics last year with Cervélo TestTeam.
Last season he was impressive on the hilly, demanding courses, with seventh in Amstel Gold Race, eighth in Flèche Wallone and sixth at Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
He’d gladly trade all three of those top 10s for one straight up victory.
“There’s no reason I cannot shoot for a podium result this year,”
Gerrans said. “The runs I have on the board already in those races with very little support, going to Team Sky and having that fantastic support behind me … I obviously have pretty big objectives there.”
The only Aussie to win one of the hilly classics was Phil Anderson, who won Amstel Gold in 1983. Stuart O’Grady won Paris-Roubaix over the punishing cobbles in 2007.
Gerrans is used to breaking ground among Aussie statistics. In 2009, he became the first Australian to win stages in all three grand tours after he won stages at the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España to go along with his Tour de France stage win in 2008.
Gerrans is pleased with his move to Team Sky, where he says he will enjoy more protecting and have additional responsibilities as a team leader.
After Gerrans was left off Cervélo’s 2009 Tour squad, he quickly made plans to change teams.
When Team Sky came calling, promising to give him more freedom and protection, that’s all he needed to hear.
After the classics, he will reload for the Tour de France, where he will have freedom to attack as well as work for team captain, Bradley Wiggins.
After that, it’s a short break before reloading for the world road cycling championships in his native Australia.
Last year, he finished 10th behind compatriot and winner Cadel Evans.
“I’ve always put an emphasis on trying to do well at the world championships. Of the last nine worlds, I’ve only missed one,” he said.
“It will be extra-special racing in Australia. It is a really big deal that the world championships are coming to Australia. I will be putting a big emphasis of that in the last part of the season.”