Cyclingnews' guide to Australia's summmer road season

Your calender to the races taking place down under

Stan Siejka Classic

Chris Froome makes his first return to racing in Australia since 2010 alongside teammate and proud Tasmanian Richie Porte at the Stan Siejka Classic on Sunday December 7. The Stan Siejka Classic kicks off a big summer of Australian cycling and the appearance of the 2013 Tour de France at the race had sparked interest across Australia. While Froome isn't likely to trouble the podium, it will be a great occasion for fans to get along and catch a glimpse of the grand tour contender in the flesh against several fast sprinters.

Last year's elite men criterium was won by Caleb Ewan who makes his return to the race with Orica-GreenEdge in what is likely to be fast event as local riders try their best to match their WorldTour rivals and possibly cause an upset.

The women's defending champion, Lauren Kitchen, will be racing in the Roxsolt team colours who will be up against a strong Wiggle-Honda team in the fight for the win. Kitchen is one of three national criterium championships signed up by Roxsolt as the team looks to dominate the Australian summer of women's racing against an international-quality field.

Shimano Super Criterium

The next big criterium on the calendar takes place in St Kilda with a big prize pot of cash on offer for both elite men and women. Prizes will be awarded to place getters, fastest lap rider, sprint primes and a sprint points competition that will see the winner pocket $1000 out of the $40,000 that is offer to riders.

The elite men's field will include the likes of Simon Gerrans and Caleb Ewan (Orica-GreenEdge), Steele von Hoff (Garmin-Sharp), Greg Henderson (Lotto Belisol) and Mick Rogers (Tinkoff-Saxo) against Pro-Continental and Continental challengers.

The race will take place on Sunday, December 14 on the St Kilda Cycling Club White Street circuit.

Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic

Could there be a better way to kick off the new year than with a no-holds-barred criterium at Geelong's Eastern Beach? We think not! The perennial Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic begins January 2 and will once again feature some of the fastest men and women in the world but with a new look format for 2015.

The 'Bay Crits' mark the start of the start of the Australian summer of cycling and the series is an important marker for the two events to follow.

2015 Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic

Mars Cycling Australia Road National Championships

Simon Gerrans won a hotly contested 2014 elite men's road race on the Buninyong circuit ahead of Cadel Evans (BMC) and Richie Porte (Team Sky) in front of one of the biggest crowds the event has ever witnessed. Gerrans' second national title in three years ensured that GreenEdge kept hold of the green and gold jersey but he and the team will face stiff competition in January to keep up its winning streak.

Evans will make his final appearance at the nationals, and with two teammates to call upon for support, will start as one of the favourites for the win. His teammate Rohan Dennis will also start the time trial as a favourite with the change to a lumpier parcours than in past years suiting his characteristics.

In the women's road race, all eyes will be on two-time winner Gracie Elvin and whether she can make it a hat-trick to match Kathy Watt as at the most successful female cyclist in the event. Elvin and Orica-AIS will also need to hold off a strong women's peloton if they want to keep the national jersey for a fourth year.

In the time trial, Shara Gillow will be hoping to start her career with Rabo-Liv with a win and reclaim the title she won between 2011 and 2013.

2015 Mars Cycling Australia Road National Championships | Previous winners

Santos Tour Down Under

The 17th edition of the Santos Tour Down is once again the opening race on the WorldTour calendar and is expected to draw another strong field in 2015. Simon Gerrans and Orica-GreenEdge made history in 2014 with a third overall win and will enter the race with the sole objective of claiming another overall win.

The Corkscrew gets a rest in 2015 which tips the overall title in favour of the sprinters but the race is likely to be decided on the fan-favourite Old Willunga Hill before a final day criterium around the streets of Adelaide concludes the six day event.

With no André Greipel in 2015, there is also the opportunity for a new rider to step forward and own the sprints as the German 'Gorilla' has done in recent years.

2015 Santos Tour Down Under | Previous winners  

Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race

A brand new event on the calendar will witness Cadel Evans pin on a race number for one final time on his home roads around Geelong in Victoria. The new UCI 1.1 race features sections of the 2010 world championships course and was designed by Evans and former professional Scott Sunderland. Evans isn't expecting any gifts in his final hit out but what better way is there for the Tour de France champion retire then with a win?

Jayco Herald Sun Tour

The oldest Australian stage races retains its place in February as well as its UCI 2.1 status, which allows WorldTour teams to take part, to close out the 2014-15 Australian summer of cycling. The 2014 edition of the race had a subdued ending as extreme weather saw the cancellation of the final and decisive stage up Arthurs Seat but don't count on it happening in successive years.

Defending champion Simon Clarke (Orica-GreenEdge) has confirming his appearance at the race and will be a formidable rival to any rider who challenges him for the overall classification. With a mix of WorldTour, Pro-Continental, Continental and national teams all taking part, there is a wide variety of skill and experience on display but this isn't the 'Fun Tour' anymore and overall victory will be well deserved.

2015 Jayco Herald Sun Tour | Previous winners

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