Shaw shines in Tour Down Under prelude

BRIGHT START: Pat Shaw, pictured in the nationals in Ballarat, continued his impressive criterium form onto the streets of Adelaide on Sunday. Picture: Lachlan Bence

PAT Shaw sayshis UniSA-Australia teamis ready to be aggressive from the outset in the Tour Down Under in Adelaide on Tuesday.

The Ballarat 29-year-old makes his WorldTour debut in the six-day event and has already shown he is in the form to make a statement over the six stages.

He warmed up for the event, which has assembled the biggest professional road cycling teams in the world, with an eye-catching 10thin theprelude to the tour, thePeople’s Choice Classic,on the streets of Adelaide on Sunday.

Australian sprinting sensation and new national criterium champion Caleb Ewan took out the51km criterium.

Shaw said the race had reached speeds of up to 60kmh. “It was unbelievable.”

He said with the pace making it difficult to make up ground he had settled in the middle ofthe first half of the field early before moving into the top 20 and locking onto the wheels of the bigger teams.

Shaw said he rounded the last turn about 16th.

While describing his first experience of riding at this level as “great”, Shaw is not about to rest on the laurels of that performance.

Shaw saidUniSA-Australia was determined to get a stage win and make a statement in the general classification.

He believes the fitness of the composite outfit puts it in good stead in what will be extreme temperatures, with its members coming off the Bay Classic Series and Cycling Australia Road National Championships in Ballarat.

Shaw, who was one of just 15 to finish the national road race championship at Buninyong, said it had been difficult to assess how the team riders would feel after a busy schedule, but everyone felt good.

Chris Hamilton was the sprint champion and most aggressive rider, while Chris Giacoppo was 13thoverall.

MEANWHILE, Shaw will join forces with national road race bronze medalist Pat Lane to spearhead theAvanti IsoWhey Sports assault on the Herald Sun TourFebruary 3-7.

Avanti confirmed on Monday that Shaw and Lane would be joined by New ZealanderJoe Cooper, Neil Van Der Ploeg, Anthony Giacoppo and Robbie Hucker in Victoria’s premier road stage event and Australia’s oldest stage event.

“I’m really looking forward to my ninth participation in this great race,” Shawsaid.

“We have ambitions to feature as a team in every stage and also on the GC,” he said.

“We know there will be great riders as there always is in the race, but we will fight like we have before and come 100 per cent prepared for the tour.”

Tour de France winner Chris Froome is riding.

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