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Archie Ryan won’t have to wait too long to make his full World Tour debut with EF Education-EasyPost (Photo: Anouk Flesch)

Archie Ryan got his season back on track very late this year but went on a storming run to secure a series of top results, including a stage win at Tour de l’Avenir and victory in Italian one-day raceCity of San Daniele Cup (1.2).

Having only raced 17 days this year, and completed his final race as a Jumbo Visma Development rider in October, the 22-year-old Irishman will be hoping to be fresh and in good form from the gun in 2024.

He will make his season debut, for new team EF Education-EasyPost, in Australia next month, when he will have a chance at success at the Santos Tour Down Under.

Though the general classification can be dictated as much by bonus seconds as the ascent of Willunga Hill, which comes on the penultimate day of racing, Ryan definitely has the ability already to challenge for a stage victory and a big general classification result.

The Irishman’s chances are increased by the fact the final weekend of racing features two climbs on the final two stages as the riders finish the last stage on Mount Loftyy.

Ryan will face tough opposition as the first World Tour stage race of the season always attracts some top tier riders and the 2024 edition is no different. Also in the field will be two-time world champion Julian Alaphilippe (Soudal QuickStep) and the Jayco AlUla duo of Luke Plapp and Simon Yates.

Others who can impress include: Quinn Simmons (Lidl Trek), Jack Haig (Bahrain Victorious), Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates), George Bennett (Israel Premier Tech), Laurens De Plus and Leo Hayter (Ineos Grenadiers), Johannes Staune-Mittet (Visma-Lease a Bike), Michael Storer and Damien Howson (Australian National Team).

Ryan’s team also features Australian rider Harry Sweeney, who will want to do a strong ride on home roads. However, while the EF Education-EasyPost line-up is impressive, it does not feature any names that would naturally be ahead of Ryan when the road kicks up.

Also named in the team are: Stefan de Bod, Owain Doull, Jack Rootkin Gray, Jonas Rutsch and Jardi Christiaan van der Lee. And that line-up should result in plenty of freedom for Ryan, if he has the legs.

The only other Irish rider listed on the start list is Ryan Mullen. He will be part of a Bora-hansgrohe lead-out effort designed to support new signing, and Sam Bennett’s replacement, Sam Welsford.

The race gets under way in Tanunda on January 16th and will conclude with a weekend of racing that includes the finishes of stages 5 and 6 on Willunga Hill and Mount Loftyy respectively.

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