The Orica-BikeExchange rider has seen his career evolve from hungry stage hunter to protected point man but now the 36-year-old is entered a new phase of leadership.
“I guess my role has really evolved over the past few years,” Gerrans said. “To the point where I was the guy they were turning to for a result in the grand tours.
“We (Orica-BikeExchange) were aiming for stage wins, we are a very opportunistic team but these days we have genuine contenders in all the Grand tours.
“So I’ve evolved from probably a real leader of the team in the Grand Tours, a winner for the team in Grand Tours, to a road captain, and getting the guys together, getting them organised in stages where we have a big tactical plan.”
Gerrans also touched on his relationship with former team-mate and rival Michael Matthews, who will be racing with Giant-Sunweb in 2017, and while there were tensions he thinks Matthews has the tools to some day be a Tour de France Green Jersey winner.
“There is no hiding the fact that Michael and I had our differences over the years but that came down to dual leadership in a lot of races where probably should have been focussing all on one guy,” Gerrans said. “But the call was never made, who was riding for who a lot of the time, and that’s where we clashed.”
Gerrans’s Australian summer of cycling will be jam-packed, with appearances at the national championships, Santos Tour Down Under, Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race and Jayco Herald Sun Tour.
And while he’d like to perform well in all of them, he said there is nothing like wearing the green and gold stripes on for another run through Europe.
“I don’t think you realise how important the green and gold jersey is until you’ve worn it. And you realise how special it is to be the Australian champion and have those colours for the next 12 months,” Gerrans said. “I’d love to go back and win the Aussie title again.”
There is a lot to chew on in this interview so sit back and enjoy Simon Gerrans at his most revealing.
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