Taylor Gunman gives us his view from the Jayco Herald Sun Tour, where he has bagged a spot as a guest rider for the New Zealand national team.
Stages one and two brought with them a series of hard and fast lessons, with the toughest tests coming early in the race, there was no hiding place.
Taylor survived stage one as the peloton was spread across the road on the 29km summit finish of Falls Creek, while stage two saw more carnage on the climb from Myrtlford to Stanley Road.
Here’s Taylor’s take – along with the best bits from his Strava files which show exactly how the race unfolded…
Stage 1 of the Sun Tour couldn't have been more different to the prologue – 170km with a 21km climb to finish.It seemed like a day from Tour of Britain – except in Australia the sun shines and the weather is warm. The field strung out all day as Sky and Orica rode the front to keep the eight man break within reach.
The peloton never properly formed.
The first ten minutes of stage one shows the fight for the breakaway in progress. Repeated attacks are shown in the power file, while the residual intensity can be tracked by observing Taylor's consistently high heart rate.
We did our best to look after our lightest climber and made sure James Oram was good for the ascent.With such a hilly tour and my first race of the season it's all about being smart and picking where I strike my matches.
These two files show perfectly where Taylor picks and chooses where to make his effort:
Over 350-watts for over 15-minutes - the first climb of the day was certainly a selection point.
The final climb and you can see from the heart-rate and power that Taylor is saving energy - while remaining in the race.
Stage 2 was a hot one. Dry hills, dry wind and rolling roads. It was very chaotic today, with Sky keen to put a man in the break. Many teams including us missed the original break.It took a long time to settle, once the big teams decide that's the break it's hard to squeeze through and join the front of the race.
What does Taylor mean when he says it took a long time for the break to go on stage two of the Herald Sun Tour? He means everyone was put to work as the big teams remained alert.
It's the basics and getting back into the good race habits of always eating and always drinking that make a huge performance difference at the end of the day.That has to be quickly re-learnt and was what caught me out yesterday coming into the final climb of Falls Creek. But today's improvement made for a more competitive climb towards the finish.The form is being refined and I will walk away from this race stronger and ready for the 2017 season in the UK.