One of the most outstanding performances at the Tour Down Under was South Australia's own Jack Bobridge.
By
7 Apr 2015 - 11:32 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:36 PM

One of the most outstanding performances at the Tour Down Under was South Australia's own Jack Bobridge.

Based
on his performance there, It goes without saying the teenage prodigy
has a bright future on the professional ranks. He's already being
compared to Brad McGee and Stuart O'Grady at the same age, and has the
makings of becoming one of the greatest cyclists ever developed in
Australia.

So why would he choose to stay on in the amateur
ranks and continue a career in the AIS track programme until the 2010
Commonwealth Games, as has been suggested?

Bobridge unleashed
his talents on more than one occasion over the six stages at the TDU in
a performance that captured the imagination of the many influential
team managers.

The "vultures" have cheque books in hand and are already circling for his sought-after signature.

I can tell you that more than one has his eye on Bobridge with the view of racing in the big-time sooner rather than later.

There's a theory that Bobridge is still too young to hit the pro-circuit, but I'm not so sure.

Look
at the progression of Mark Cavendish since he won gold on the velodrome
for the scratch race at the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games.

A year later he experienced his first taste at the top by making his debut appearance at the Tour de France.

In
2008 he won gold in the Madison at the UCI track World Championships
followed by two victories at the Giro and an incredible four stage wins
at the Tour.

Some locally-based coaches have told me Bobridge "is now ready to rule the roads of Europe".

There's
no doubt he has the ability, the determination, the talent and the
"engine", and there's no doubt he should be guided correctly in terms
of the career path he takes in the next 12 months.

There's a
push to keep Bobridge riding the boards at the AIS until 2012 as our
cycling gurus see him as our big hope in combating the British track
cycling juggernaut - winning Olympic gold in London and therefore erase
the memories of Beijing - where Bobridge's ride in the team pursuit even
upstaged that of the recently retired Brad McGee.

Bobridge is just 19, but has the maturity of a person beyond his years.

The
experience he gained by rubbing shoulders with the likes of Armstrong,
Pereiro, Sanchez, Davis and O'Grady (to name just a few) in Adelaide in
January has whet his appetite for a shot at taking the pro-path earlier
than he may have expected.

The question now being asked is "
should he focus on Commonwealth medals or be given a chance to chase a
leader's jersey in a stage race on the pro-circuit?"

Bobridge
can do both - just ask O'Grady and McGee, to deny this brilliant
athlete an opportunity to start a pro-career before 2010 would be an
injustice.

There's no reason to keep him in cotton wool any longer, I say let him go now!