Wurf tipped to take lead role with his pro team

CAMERON Wurf appears likely to follow fellow Tasmanian cyclist Richie Porte's example by assuming a lead role within his WorldTour team.

Hot on the heels of Porte joining Tour de France placegetters Brad Wiggins and Chris Froome as protected riders within Team Sky, Wurf is being tipped to be made Cannondale's captain at the US Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado.

However, before he can focus on that responsibility, the 29-year-old former Olympic rower will tackle the Tour de Romandie followed by  the Grand Tours of Italy and France in support of two-time Giro winner Ivan Basso and sprint sensation Peter Sagan.

The promotion follows an enforced year away from the sport's elite level and a torturous training regime at home in Hobart which he said left him so trim that fellow Tasmanian Bernie Sulzberger didn't recognise him.

``I want to help Basso get on the podium, but I also want to learn as much as I can because down the road I might get a chance to ride for myself in the Grand Tours,'' Wurf told Cycling Central.

``Basso has my 110 per cent support for the Giro. He's done a  lot for me and I think he's got another podium in him. 

``I want to be there with him as much as I possibly can in the key parts of the race. If you can help someone deep into a race, that's where you can see it all unfold and see how it all happens. That's where you learn the most.

``It's one thing to have the engine, but it's another to race it properly.''

With Italian Basso turning 36 in November and Cannondale losing the services of Roman Kreuziger and Vincenzo Nibali in consecutive seasons, Wurf is excited about his prospects.

It follows a frustrating 2012  when an agent dispute prompted a year away from the WorldTour team during which he rode alongside Campbell Town's Will Clarke with Asian pro-conti team Champion System.

Fresh from a two-week altitude camp in Tenerife and a creditable 18th at the Volta a Catalunya, Wurf said he has never been so motivated ahead of his second Giro beginning on May 4. 

``I was doing anything I could in every daylight hour to rebuild my engine,'' he said. ``I rode for 40 hours a week for six weeks. I was doing eight, nine-hour days, riding Mount Wellington four times in a  session.''

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