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by Shane Stokes
January 16, 2018
Greipel aiming to add to record Santos Tour Down Under stage haul; Lotto-Soudal loses Lambrecht from Down Under lineup over UCI testing rule; Van Baarle: ‘I joined Team Sky because I can take the next step here’; Andrew Christie-Johnston on UniSA’s TDU plans: Sprints, KOM jersey and more; Dubai Tour confirms 2018 team lineup; Video: Tour Down Under preview with André Greipel; Video: Watch the final lap of the People’s Choice Classic; Video: Peter Sagan lets his hair down in Australia; Video: Christopher Blevins shows skill at the US cyclocross championships; Video: Castelli unveils 2018 Giro d’Italia race leader’s jerseys
ADELAIDE, Australia (CT) – The road to the Santos Tour Down Under has been a bumpy one for the UniSA-Australia National team. Selecting the squad, already a challenging process, was made even more difficult by an administrative error at Cycling Australia (CA) that left several riders ineligible to take part due to changes to the anti-doping rules.
For the man who’ll call the shots from the UniSA team car this week, Andrew Christie-Johnston, it’s been a particularly tough few weeks. The effusive Tasmanian’s dominant domestic team, Bennelong-SwissWellness, was entitled to five of seven places on the UniSA-Australia national team, but the CA mix-up left just four of his riders eligible to race in Adelaide.
But a team was selected, the dust has settled, and the UniSA-Australia riders are now ready to do battle with their WorldTour rivals. On the eve of stage 1 of the Tour Down Under, CyclingTips caught up with the man known as ACJ to get his take on the week ahead, the team’s goals, and the challenges of the past few weeks.
CyclingTips: You seem to have a good mix of guys here — younger riders, experienced riders, riders for the sprints, riders for the climbs. Are you happy with the mix?
Andrew Christie-Johnston: Yeah definitely. All these guys here are talented. It’s always a challenge bringing a bunch of guys from different teams to try and get the dynamics right but straight away they seem to have gelled quite well. With Steele [Von Hoff] and Sam [Welsford] — both are capable of winning stages. And the GC, well that’s always difficult — when you’re going up [against] someone like Richie [Porte] and guys like that it’s hard. But you know, a couple of them have been … Tim [Roe] and Nathan Earle … have been top 10 here before so we’ll see how they go.
Click through to read the full interview on CyclingTips.