British rider James Shaw is set to start his first season as a pro having spent the past two seasons as part of the U23 Lotto-Soudal team. Last season, Shaw was given an opportunity to race as a stagiaire with the Lotto-Soudal WorldTour team and on the back of that, he was offered a contract with the Belgian outfit.

Next week, he’ll participate in the World Tour race, the Santos Tour Down Under, and he has been in Australia acclimatising ahead of his pro début.

James Shaw: “I took some time to get over the jetlag, but now my body clock is running on Adelaide time. It’s my first time ever in Australia and I like it. As far as the weather is concerned it’s a huge difference with the cold in Europe at the moment. It’s a weird feeling having high temperatures in January, that doesn’t seem right. But it’s not too hot yet. Today, was the first time the temperature rose above thirty degrees.”

“During our spare time we already had some time to look around here in Adelaide. I bought a postcard to send home to my parents. Adelaide is a beautiful city and not too crowded. You are close to the beach and hills. It’s wonderful to enjoy a coffee under the sun during our training rides. During one of our trainings Rafael Valls pointed out a koala who was chilling in a tree. It was exciting to see such an animal in its natural habitat.”

“The first days, we took it pretty easy to get used to the time difference and the climate, but the past few days we did training rides of more than four hours. We did a recon of a few of next week’s courses. We rode the last fifty kilometres of the second stage and went to see the start and finish of stage four.”

“Those recons made me even more excited to race next week. Although I’m really nervous for my first WorldTour race. I hope to come out as a stronger and better bike rider. I’m lucky to have a wealth of experience around me, with riders like Lars Bak and Thomas De Gendt who are more than willing to share their knowledge. Thomas, who already rode the Tour Down Under five times, has been giving advice on the courses. Sean De Bie is my roommate here. I already know him fairly well, because the past two years, when I was riding for the U23 team, we occasionally met up for a ride as he didn’t live too far away. I’m starting a new and big adventure, but the fact that I’m surrounded by such a nice team will dampen the shock.”


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