Tour Down Under 2014: stage one - five observations

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Tour Down Under 2014: stage one – five observations

Early thoughts as the UCI WorldTour season gets underway in Adelaide

Nathan Earle, two days ago, was focused only on training in Tasmania as he looks to impress his new employers Sky. After Chris Sutton’s crash at the People’s Choice Classic however, which despite the Aussie rider recovering from to finish fourth was later found to have caused him a broken wrist, Earle was rushed over to make his debut. An 11-hour training rider was followed by a last-minute flight to join his team-mates on the start line in Adelaide, with the task of supporting Richie Porte and Geraint Thomas’ GC bids. A daunting task for anyone, not least a 25-year-old debutant with no previous WorldTour experience.

Nathan Earle was handed an unexpected Team Sky debut after Chris Sutton’s withdrawal with a fractured wrist (pic: Sirotti)

But Earle, who won last year’s New Zealand Cycle Classic, stepped to the fore with an impressive debut ride. His pace at the front of the bunch on Menglars Hill was a big factor in causing the bunch to split, and also ensure no escapes were possible off the front. His big shift drew immediate praise from his team-mates too, and if young riders want a lesson in seizing your opportunities this would be it. Earle may not play a big role for Team Sky this season, but he has proved to the likes of Sir Dave Brailsford and Rod Ellingworth he is ready and able.

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