Rohan Dennis and Riche Porte
After a dominate win at the Australian Nation Time Trial Championships last week defending champion Rohan Dennis will enter this year’s Tour Down Under riding a wave of confidence. Considering his only real challenger at the Nationals was new team mate Riche Porte many will consider this BMC’s race to lose. BMC’s one, two punch will give the team a strong tactical advantage on the key stages of 3 and 5.
Three time winner Simon Gerrans had an injury interrupted 2015 and will be out to prove his doubters wrong in 2016. Gerrans will lead a strong and motivated Orica Green-Edge who always arrive at their home tour expecting nothing less than 1st place. BMC and Sky will need to turn the screws up on the dual ascent of Willunga Hill to dislodge Gerrans from the front group. While not a pure climber if Gerrans can survive Willunga Hill in the front group he will easily have the pace to beat the pre-race favourites in a small bunch sprint.
Lampre-Merida’s new signing Louis Meintjes makes his debut at the Tour Down Under as he looks to continue his progression in the sport having made his Tour de France debut last year alongside finishing in the top-ten on GC at the Vuelta a Espana. The South African will be one the young riders to watch at the race but just how he fares in the Australian heat and so early in the season will be revealed once racing gets underway.
Geraint Thomas has been a regular at the race over the last few seasons and with a strong Team Sky squad heading down under, the Welshman will be looking to start the season on a strong note as he looks to continue his transition to a GC rider following his breakout 2015 Tour de France performances. Team Sky also have the ultimate back up card to play with Sergio Henao.
The 6 stage Tour Down Under commences on Tuesday 19th January