At the Tour Down Under, Oscar Onley and Isaac del Toro showcased impressive skills but fell short of ultimate victory, leaving them with mixed feelings of pride and disappointment.
The Tour Down Under recently concluded with a dramatic twist for two rising stars, Oscar Onley (dsm-firmenich PostNL) and Isaac del Toro (UAE Team Emirates). Despite delivering remarkable performances throughout the week, victory eluded them both. Onley, 21, and Del Toro, 20, notched their first WorldTour race wins, underlining their current prowess and future potential. However, they couldn’t surpass Stevie Williams on the final stage, with Williams clinching both the stage and the overall title.
Onley, who finished fourth after losing time on Mount Lofty, expressed a mix of immediate disappointment and longer-term satisfaction, acknowledging the significant progress he made. “Right now, it’s disappointing, but I’m sure I’ll appreciate this week’s achievements later. It’s been a big step forward for me,” he reflected.
Del Toro’s experience mirrored Onley’s, with a week full of firsts: his debut WorldTour race, his initial victory, and his first time on the podium. Despite these milestones, the young rider was left apologizing to his team, feeling he could have done more.
The irony of the situation was not lost on Onley, who attributed part of his challenging day to Del Toro’s aggressive tactics. “Del Toro’s attack set off a chain reaction that I just couldn’t respond to,” Onley said, acknowledging his exhaustion and inability to keep pace.
Both riders, at the cusp of their careers, experienced the highs and lows of competitive cycling, leaving the Tour Down Under with valuable lessons and a taste of what’s to come in their promising futures.
He admitted it wasn’t easy to be forthright. In the final stretch, his team’s support was crucial, propelling him to give his all. He acknowledged there’s room for improvement, especially in sprints, expressing contentment yet knowing he could do better. His victory was satisfying, but he regretted not delivering his peak performance in the previous climb. The support of his team, both on and off the bike, weighed on him, making him determined to excel not just for himself but for the entire team. He aimed for the win, or at least to shave off seconds, but still felt he hadn’t reached his full potential. Despite this, he tried to savor the moment.
Both competitors are young with promising futures. The climbs at the Tour Down Under, however, didn’t fully challenge a climber of Onley’s caliber. He anticipated more thrilling races ahead, better suited to his strengths.
Del Toro, too, looked forward to more challenges. He described his experience as dreamlike and immensely enjoyable, a significant milestone. He felt supported, not pressured, by his team. This environment helped him focus on performing well and fulfilling his responsibilities, making the entire experience more enriching and less stressful.