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Cycling: Five things we learned from Tour Down Under

The 2024 UCI World Tour season is up and running and the first race on the calendar, the Tour Down Under, did not disappoint.

Adelaide in South Australia, put on another spectacle and there was a lot to take away from an exciting week of action.

As usual the World Tour’s big guns such as Tadej Pogacar and Wout Van Aert skipped the race, but the big teams were there and the racing was exciting.

There were some stand-out performances at the Tour Down Under and, although it is difficult to say whether said cyclists will go on and star in 2024, it has given cycling enthusiasts plenty of food for thought.

Here are the five things we learned from the Tour Down Under.

Williams grabs second chance

Stevie Williams picked up the overall victory as the Tour Down Under went right to the wire.

Heading into the final stage Williams, Jhonatan Narvaez and Isaac del Toro all had a chance for the win, but it was the Israel Premier Tech star who came out on top.

It is a huge win for the 27-year-old, who has had a number of ups and downs throughout his career and it should give him a massive confidence boost.

Williams will not be winning any grand tours in 2024, but a few more World Tour wins and valuable UCI points for Israel, could be incoming.

Welsford king of the sprinters

Sam Welsford dominated the Tour Down Under when it came to the sprint stages, picking up three wins.

The Australian has switched teams to Bora Hansgrohe and his career with the German team could not have got off to a better start.

With some of the world’s very best sprinters absent, it is hard to read too much into the wins.

However Welsford has shown he has what it takes to pick up more wins in 2024.

Work to be done for Ewan

While Welsford was the star of the show, there was disappointment for fellow Aussie sprinter Caleb Ewan.

Ewan has also switched teams to Jayco AlUla following a tough time with Lotto Dstny and would have been hoping for a strong start on home soil.

It wasn’t to be as he failed to pick up a stage win. Fourth place on Stage 1 was his best result and Ewan has heaps of work to do with his new team-mates if he is to return to his best in 2024.

Del Toro shows potential

Mexican rider Del Toro has been touted as a potential star of the future after he finished third overall at the Tour Down Under.

The 20-year-old took out Stage 2 and comparisons are already being made to his UAE Team Emirates team-mate Pogacar.

If he gets anywhere near the Slovenian superstar he will have a great career, but the signs look to be promising.

Positive signs for Ineos

It has been a tough off-season for Ineos Grenadiers following a host of changes behind the scenes, with both riders and staff moving on.

However, they still have a strong roster and, although they may not be the force of old, they could still be competitive in 2024.

Narvaez, who finished second in the general classification, is proof that Ineos have plenty of talent and are not done yet.

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