On road for Olympics
AFTER winning the Commonwealth Games road race gold medal and claiming bronze at the world road championships last year, 2011 promised so much for Bundaberg's Allan Davis.
But the 31-year-old, who is home from his Spanish base with his wife Andrea and children Brooklyn, 10, and Harrison, 6, for his annual post-season break, started the year slowly and never got back on track, with his campaign decimated by illness and injury.
However, Davis is "real excited" as he approaches the new year after joining new Australian team GreenEDGE.
"It was an ordinary year for me, results wise - it was the first year I haven't won a professional race for 10 years," Davis said.
A bout of glandular fever forced his late withdrawal from the Tour de France (TDF), a race in which he had set his heart on a return to after a five-year absence.
"It knocked me around and after I got over it, I came back in August but in my first race, I got tendonitis in the knee, which took me out for the rest of the season," he said.
But Davis has a "pair of two big goals" for 2012: the TDF and the Olympics, which he said start the weekend after that tour finishes.
Davis has just completed a two-week training camp with Green
EDGE in Melbourne and will start his season in the Jayco Bay Classic Criterium Series, which starts in Geelong on New Year's Day, before contesting the Australian road championships.
But he will not ride in this year's Tour Down Under, ending his proud record of being the only rider to have ridden in every stage of every one of the 13 Down Under events so far, and winning it overall in 2009.
However, Davis has "bigger fish to fry" with the TDF and Olympics on top of his wish list, and he believes they are within his reach and that GreenEDGE is also set for a successful debut season.
"During the camp, we met up with all the guys, and on paper we look really strong, and on top of that, we are all mates and we have known each other for a long time, especially the Australians. And we're looking good for a couple of years," he said.
"It will be sad to have to miss the Tour Down Under, but we've got another training camp at Bright in the hills north of Melbourne at the same time.
"But I think I can get some quite good results this year, and out of the big three tours - Spain, Italy and France - France is the one that really suits my style of racing with a lot of up and down stages and up at the finish.
"I'm also a pretty good chance of going to the Olympics. Obviously I'm in the squad but a lot goes on with injury and illness and I've got to make sure I stay healthy and upright and the rest should unfold itself, hopefully.
"But for the time being, it's good to be home for Christmas with all my family and I'm very grateful to Alexandra Apartments who have again provided our accommodation while in Bundaberg."