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"At first when I thought that I wasn't going to be returning I was quite disappointed. It is always nice to return to your home race as the defending champion so I am really happy to be back and am excited to get the racing un...

Photo: Trek Factory Racing

CALVIN WATSON

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HERALD SUN TOUR

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MATTHEW LLOYD

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31.01.2014 @ 09:15 Posted by Aleksandra Górska

Calvin Watson of Trek Factory Racing has suddenly received an opportunity to defend his Jayco Herald Sun Tour title won impressively last year as the younger cyclist to date, as Caleb Ewan decided to withdraw from the event due to a fatigue, leaving a free spot at the national cycling teams for the fellow Australian.

 

Alongside Ewan, also Brad Linfield will not participate in the event held from next Wednesday due to an illness, leaving the second spot to be filled by the former Giro d’Italia mountain classification winner Matthew Lloyd of Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis.

 

Watson and Lloyd will line up for KordaMentha Real Estate – Team Australia while Thomas Hamilton and Robert Jon McCarthy have been transferred to the younger squad, paving the way for the inclusion of Watson and Lloyd.

 

"I am excited to be back," Watson said.

 

"At first when I thought that I wasn't going to be returning I was quite disappointed. It is always nice to return to your home race as the defending champion so I am really happy to be back and am excited to get the racing underway."

"Winning the Herald Sun Tour last year was a massive moment for me. It's led to me signing a professional contract with Trek Factory Racing so it's definitely changed my life and now I have the opportunity to race in the WorldTour.

 

"That's what you dream of doing and I'm going to make the most of the opportunity. I haven't worn number one in a race for a long time and to do it in such a quality field will be quite cool."

 

"I'm pretty unsure about my ambitions to try and defend my title. I am going to give it 110 per cent to try and win again but realistically there are some really strong riders coming back this year.

"Simon Gerrans and the whole GreenEdge team is going to be really strong this year and they showed at the Tour Down Under that they are all in top condition and also guys like Nathan Haas and team Garmin Sharp – it's a really top quality field this year so it's not going to a walk in the park."

 

Commenting on his withdrawal, Ewan confessed that he needed a break from racing after a demanding participation at the Santos Tour Down Under and two crashed he suffered from earlier this month, as he is eager to kick-off the European cycling season with a bang.

 

"It was going to be a pretty big January if I rode the Herald Sun Tour and I want to make sure I get to Europe fresh because that's my main goal for the season," Ewan said.

"I'm pretty tired, I had a little fall before Bay Crits and again at TDU so I think it's better to let my body have a rest and make sure I'm all good before heading over to Europe."

 

 

Updated national Cycling Australia teams

 

Jayco u23 National Team: Robert Power (WA), Harry Carpenter (SA), Sam Spokes (NSW), Alex Clements (TAS), Robert-Jon McCarthy (SA) and Thomas Hamilton (VIC)

KordaMentha Team Australia: Calvin Watson (VIC), Matthew Lloyd (VIC), Glenn O’Shea (SA), Pat Shaw (VIC), Chris Jory (NSW) and Matthew Clarke (VIC)

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