Australia’s rising crop of cycling talent will follow a new lead at the Tour Down Under this week under the tutelage of national high-performance road director Brad McGee.
16 Jan 2017 - 1:47 PM 

McGee will succeed long-serving identity Dave Sanders as sports director of the UniSA team, largely comprised of under-23 academy riders that will be blooded in WorldTour racing.

“If they don’t come out of this week with that strong feeling of what it takes to be pro then I’ve failed in my job,” McGee said in Adelaide.

UniSA has typically raced aggressively, maximising its exposure in escapes as riders equally profited from the expertise of Sanders, a renowned mentor and now coach at Orica-Scott. McGee recognised the benefit of such a tactic though is set to subtly instil his own style and knowledge when it comes to strategy at this hillier edition.

“I’m not going to send any of these athletes out, lambs to the slaughter, just purely for the sake of being in a breakaway. I think that’s nonsense,” McGee said. “But it is also a potential to learn that element of cycling. If it happens it will be very strategic and because the athlete himself, or the team itself, can benefit.”

Former Tour Down Under champion Cameron Meyer as well as Nathan Earle, who have both previously competed in the WorldTour, headline the outfit that will start the tour tomorrow.

McGee wouldn’t single out a specific leader, keeping the game plan for the race, which promises a new queen stage to Paracombe on Wednesday, broad.

“The way the structure of the week is, stage two is going to change pretty much everything. Athletes will either be in it or not. I think a reassessment will not only come from UniSA on Wednesday night but from all the teams that are here,” he said.

“We’ve got a general plan that’s come together already. We had a meeting yesterday that followed on from some individual meetings with the athletes. My job is to coordinate everyone’s efforts and intentions, everyone’s desire, find some middle ground and then put it together. We need to be cohesive.

“There will be some targets, already we’re talking particular jerseys, some stages are being looked at and we know that some chances will come from opportunistic attacks. It has all been covered but I’m not going to sit here and tell you exactly what we’re going to achieve this week.”