WATCH every stage of the Volta Catalunya LIVE and FREE on SBS VICELAND and SBS On Demand from March 23.
Hirschi stunned the cycling world with a shock move to UAE Team Emirates from Sunweb on the eve of the season start in January.
Since then it has been relatively quiet from the 22-year-old who has been hard at work in training as his fellow WorldTour stars have been making noise in the opening races of the season.
However, Hirschi will finally get his chance on Tuesday (AEDT) as the Volta Catalunya kicks off with a 178km first stage starting and finishing in Calella on the east coast of Spain.
After a stint training at altitude at Spain’s Teide volcano, Hirschi is locked and loaded for the Volta Catalunya followed by a full press on the Ardennes classics.
“I have many [goals], the Ardennes classics are somewhere I can do well I think, as I have in the past. Then to do a good Tour de France and then also the Olympics and world championships,” Hirschi said.
“My first goal was to settle into the new team, and thanks to the warm welcome I received. I feel I’ve achieved that one.”
It will be Hirschi’s third WorldTour season and the pressure will be on him like never before after a breakout 2020 campaign which included a stage win in his debut Tour de France, victory at Fleche Wallone as well as finishing on the podium at Liege-Bastogne-Liege and the World Championships.
One of his biggest challenges will come from inside his own team in Slovenian Superstar Tadej Pogacar.
The pair have plenty of history as rivals with Hirschi defeating Pogacar to win the U23 World Road title in 2018.
Hirschi claims there will be plenty of opportunities for both himself and reigning Tour champion Pogacar with little crossover in their 2021 race schedules.
“Tadej and I often raced against each other as juniors, and we always respected each other,” he said.
“I’m glad to race with him.
“It will be interesting to see how my body reacts in the Tour when I am up at the front for three weeks to help Tadej. I don’t know that yet.”
Hirschi’s season debut and first race for his new team will be a thrilling subplot to what is building to be a thrilling Volta Catalunya.
The race will also be the first appearance of Ineos Grenadier’s Richard Carapaz, Lennard Kamna of Bora-Hansgrohe and EF Education-Nippo’s Jonathan Caicedo.
Peter Sagan will also ride at Volta Catalunya after making his season debut at Tirreno-Adriatico.
You can catch all the action from the 2021 Volta Catalunya LIVE on SBS Viceland and SBS On Demand from March 23 -29.