HERALD Sun Tour champion Nathan Haas is finally where not even he dared dream was possible - signed to a WorldTour team and staring down the might of GreenEDGE riders in next week's Jayco Bay Cycling Classic.
Haas, 22, was virtually anonymous a year ago.
The Canberra native forged a strong spring campaign to earn a contract with Garmin-Cervelo after starring in a string of wins with the Genesys Wealth team.
Haas will return to Geelong on Sunday far removed from cycling anonymity.
Nobody is more stunned by the transformation than the man who went head to head with world champion Jack Bobridge on the Jayco Herald Sun Tour, and prevailed.
"What I have become is more patient with the process of trying to get fit and the process of actually being a bike rider," said Haas, who will represent Bike Bug in the four-race series.
"I have learnt how to suffer a lot more this year, and that the best cyclists are ... not necessarily the ones in the best form but are the ones that can suffer over and over and still perform at a high level on any given day.
"This is definitely where I would have liked to have been, riding in a WorldTour team, but I really never thought I would get there in one year."
Haas will reprise a support role in the series, leading out Tour de France stage winner Heinrich Haussler, Launceston-to-New Norfolk Classic winner Steele Von Hoff, Anthony Giacoppo and Alex Carver.
Haas will contest the national titles in Ballarat before heading to Adelaide to make his WorldTour debut in the Tour Down Under.
The Bay Classic starts in Geelong at Eastern Beach on Sunday, followed by stages at Eastern Park (Geelong) on Monday, Portarlington on Tuesday and Williamstown on Wednesday.