Simon Gerrans and Orica-GreenEdge won't dominate season, says Roger Hammond
Last Updated: 28/01/14 10:53pm
Alec Wilkinson looks back on the fifth stage of the Tour Down Under with Roger Hammond.
Roger Hammond does not expect Simon Gerrans and Orica-GreenEdge to dominate the whole season, despite winning the Tour Down Under.
The Australian claimed a big early-season victory in his home country, staying out of trouble in stage six to complete a strong race for his team.
And while Sky Sports expert Hammond can see Gerrans and Orica-GreenEdge performing well in Europe over the next few months, he suspects their form might fade by the summer.
"It's a very difficult one," he said.
"It's that adaption back to Europe. The Australians are very good at it because they have to do it, they've done it year in, year out. The Europeans that have gone down to the Tour Down Under and come back north struggle a bit more.
"But the riders that have won the Tour Down Under have quite often struggled later in the year because when you find that form really early you sometimes pay for it in July, August and September.
"Richie Porte has already said he wants to be good in May. These are guys that are already targeting the early part of the year so don't expect them to dominate for the whole season.
"But for the first half of the year expect them to be very good and at the front for most of the European races."
Team Sky's Richie Porte finished a fine fourth after his heroics on Willunga Hill on Saturday and ended the first WorldTour race of the year 10 seconds back on Gerrans.
Geraint Thomas completed a solid showing for the British team, jumping a place to eighth overall and Hammond believes their display has sent a message to their rivals.
"They will go back from this with fond memories," he added.
"It looked as if it was starting to be a little bit dodgy half-way through when it looked as if they weren't hitting their targets - and I know Sky like to have targets and hit numbers.
"They like to have goals and achieve them and Richie Porte really put their season back on track with that climb up to the top of Willunga Hill.
"That was a signal that was sent out to the rest of Europe that 'we are still a force to be reckoned with and we will be for the rest of the year.'"