Davis is full speed ahead

DEFENDING Santos Tour Down Under champion Allan Davis has every reason to feel confident heading into the 141km first stage in South Australia today.

Sunday’s Cancer Council Helpline Classic, a prelude to the tour, went off at a cracking pace and Davis was in the thick of it, reaching speeds of 71kmh in his new Astana colours.

The Bundaberg cyclist was leading the pack in the late stages of the race, but was eventually outgunned by new outfit Team Sky to finish seventh.

Greg Henderson and Chris Sutton made it a one-two for Team Sky, but the speed Davis was able to generate has him in good shape for another successful campaign.

“It was a really good hit-out, and I’m happy with my form in what was a very fast race,” he said from Adelaide yesterday.

“I probably mistimed my sprint a little in the end and it would have been nice to have another gear to go to once I reached about 70kmh, but you never know how fast it is going to be.”

His good showing has meant he will confidently enter today’s first stage from Clare to Tanundra, just outside of Adelaide.

“I’ll be aiming to pull off a stage win – that’s the goal,” he said.

But Davis estimates his Astana teammates will not have the pace to keep up with him when it counts, fearing he will have to do the hard work at the finish line on his own.

None of his Astana team, which includes 2006 Tour de France grand champion Oscar Pereiro, finished close to the front on Sunday and the Bundaberg rider did not expect things to change during the tour.

“It’s going to be very tough without the help of my team at the finish, I don’t think they’ll have the pace in the sprints for me to shoot off them,” Davis said.

The former Quick Step rider rated Team Sky as the team to beat after impressing in their first competitive ride.

“They gelled so well and will be hard to beat if they ride like that all week,” Davis said.

“To work so well together so soon was very surprising.”

Catch the highlights of stage one from 6pm tonight on SBS and read the NewsMail this week to follow Davis’ progress.

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