As the opening event for the UCI World Tour the Tour Down Under is starting to sign up some big names. A pretty lean 1012 on the Bike has fired up 2010 Tour de France winner (after Contador’s positive doping charges) Andy Schleck. His younger brother, Frank, would have lined up at Adelaide too if he hadn’t tested positive for a banned diuretic during the 2012 TdF.
The 6 loops up and d the hills to the town of Heathsfield on Stage 3 should suit the climber in Schleck and his Radioshack Nissan mates. Also the 2 big climbs (and mountain top finish) of Old Willunga Hill. This is the biggest climb of the event. It reminds me of the Tour de France leg up Alpe D’huez. The cyclists won’t like it up there the first time – and hate it a second time.
Phillipe Gilbert will possibly lead the BMC team in Cadel Evan’s absence. Evans opting out of his home event for the umpteenth time - preferring to stick with his measured training schedule that got him the TdF win in 2011. Gilbert won the King of the Mountains jersey in 2008 and will be looking to back up his great second half of the 2012 season.
We’d expect the full compliment from Orica Green Edge. Simon Gerrans took the Ocre jersey in 2011 and went on to win the Milan-San Remo one day Classic in Italy not long after. This really is a warm up for the Spring classics for the riders.
A chance to open up the legs and get a bit of sun away from the Euro winter. Let’s hope a few more big names get amongst it ie Contador, Froome, Van Garderen, Nibali. I doubt Wiggins will make the effort considering his recent stack.