Australian summer of cycling - Gallery

The best images from a busy start to season 2016

With the conclusion of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour, the Australian summer of cycling is over for another year as the peloton heads back to Europe, via the middle east, for the 'traditional' season opening races. The season started down under on January 1 with the four-day Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic, followed by the Australian national championships and the Women's Santos Tour and the Tour Down Under.

The men and women's Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road followed, before the 63rd edition of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour closed out the summer.

Orica-AIS where the women's team of the summer, sweeping to success at the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic via Gracie Elvin, Australia nationals with Amanda Spratt winning the road race and Katrin Garfoot the time trial. The two riders would go on to also claim success at the Women's Santos Tour (Garfoot) and Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road (Spratt) to make it a perfect summer of racing.

There wasn't such dominance in the men's racing with different winners of all of the races, although there were repeat stage winners across January and February.

The men's summer of racing confirmed the sprinting talent of Caleb Ewan while teammate Simon Gerrans made a winning return to from as he claimed a fourth Tour Down Under crown. Jack Bobridge's 90km solo ride to the Australian national title was regarded as one the greatest on Australian soil to start what will be one of his "biggest seasons" to date.

With the first half of the summer belonging to the Australians, Team Sky tipped the balance in favour of the foreigners as first Peter Kennaugh, then Chris Froome rode to victory in the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road and Jayco Herald Sun Tour respectively.

Crowds lined the roads to watch 'Froome Zoom' at the Sun Tour as he and Sky controlled the race to claimed two stage wins, the overall, plus the team and points classifications. The final day of racing for the summer up Arthurs Seat saw fans line the roads as Froome took off on the third and final ascent of the climb to secure his first win of the season.

With Tour Down Under race director Mike Turtur promising "some nice surprises", and Froome all but confirmed to return in 2017 for the Jayco Herald Sun Tour, the countdown has already started for next year's summer.

Click or swipe through the gallery above for the best images of the 2016 Australian summer of cycling. 

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