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Gerrans aims for return to cycling form

AAP logoAAP 8/12/2016 Roger Vaughan

Australian cycling star Simon Gerrans hopes more racing will help consign two disaster-plagued seasons to history.

The 36-year-old will launch next year with a packed domestic schedule as he tries to return to his all-conquering 2014 form.

He will race the early-February Jayco Herald Sun Tour for the first time since 2014, the best year of his career.

That season Gerrans won the Liege-Bastogne-Liege classic, as well as his third Tour Down Under title in Adelaide and a second national road championship.

But Gerrans ended the year nursing a broken collarbone, thanks to a pre-Christmas mountain bike accident.

That was the first of a string of crashes that have interrupted his racing.

While Gerrans has still posted strong results - he won the Tour Down Under for the fourth time last year - overall it has a been a frustrating run of bad luck.

"You could say I've had more than my fair share of setbacks in the last couple of years, but the motivation is as strong as it ever was throughout my career," he said.

"As I'm getting on and getting towards the tail end of my career, I want to make every season and every race count."

Gerrans has set no retirement date - he is on a one-year contract for 2017 and will re-assess towards the end of the season.

As usual, he will start the year at the January nationals and Tour Down Under, before also racing at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Rd Race and then the Herald Sun Tour.

His main European goals will be Liege-Bastogne-Liege and the other Ardennes Classics, followed by a team captain role at the Tour de France.

Gerrans' Orica-BikeExchange team now has riders such as Colombian Esteban Chavez the British Yates twins who can contend in the Tour de France and the other Grand Tours.

It means Gerrans will have more of a support role at the Tour de France, rather than try to win stages himself.

Gerrans and Chavez will be a powerful lead duo for Orica-BikeExchange at the Tour Down Under and then the Herald Sun Tour.

They will go up against three-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome at the Herald Sun Tour.

"Course-wise, Tour Down Under probably suits me a little bit better and the Herald Sun Tour probably suits Esteban a little bit better," Gerrans said.

"But we both should be in really good nick and having a a couple of options there, it's going to be a real advantage to the team.

"Esteban probably will have the upper hand on Chris at the Jayco Herald Sun Tour, purely because he's going to have the Tour Down Under in his legs."

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