Cycling Australia has named the composite team that will ride under the UniSA-Australia Team banner at the upcoming Santos Tour Down Under, with riders from 2017 National Road Series champions Bennelong SwissWellness Cycling Team headlining the roster.
Rio Olympian Scott Bowden, track world champion Alex Porter and former WorldTour riders Steele von Hoff and Timothy Roe make up the quartet from the Bennelong SwissWellness Cycling Team.
"The Tour Down Under is my favourite race of the year, it is my home race," said Roe, who returns to the race that kick-started his professional career after impressing as part of the 2010 UniSA outfit. "I train on these roads almost every day, so to be able to race in front of my family and friends makes it a perfect way to start the season.
"Gaining another start in the Tour Down Under has been a goal of mine, as it has played a big part in my cycling career,” he said. “It is a fantastic race to re-enter the WorldTour here at the Tour Down Under, where I first got noticed by BMC Racing Team before signing with them in 2011."
The team, which will be managed by Andrew Christie-Johnson, offers a unique opportunity for the host country's rising stars plus several experienced hands to contest the opening WorldTour race of the 2018 season.
Reigning team pursuit world champion and Olympic silver medallist Sam Welsford (Australian Cycling Academy) will continue his development on the road, while Israel Cycling Academy's Zak Dempster and Nathan Earle complete the team, with both bringing important WorldTour experience to the youthful squad.
"We have excellent riders that can compete at the World Tour level and fight for wins," Roe said. "I want to target the overall general classification - top 10 is a goal of mine to show that I can still compete at this level."
UniSA-Australia Team roster for Tour Down Under: Scott Bowden, Zak Dempster, Nathan Earle, Alex Porter, Timothy Roe, Steele von Hoff, Sam Welsford
Demare will start Classics build up at Volta ao Algarve
French champion Arnaud Démare will start his build-up toward the spring Classics with a start at the Volta ao Algarve in mid-February, according to a post on his Instagram account.
"I have the pleasure to announce my program for first part of season, which will be similar to the other years," wrote the 26-year-old Groupama-FDJ rider who won a chaotic Milan-San Remo sprint in 2016 ahead of Team Sky's Ben Swift.
Following his start at the five-day race in Portugal, Démare will head for Belgium and the opening Classics weekend of Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne and February 24 and 25, respectively.
Démare's first race in France in the new season will come at Paris-Nice March 4-11, setting him up for another run at Milan-San Remo six days later. From there he'll tackle Gent-Wevelgem on March 25, followed by Tour of Flanders on April 1 and wrapping up his Classics campaign at Paris-Roubaix on April 8.
Arnaud Demare will start his 2018 season at Volta ao Algarve.
Lexus signs on to sponsor new Detroit velodrome
Lexus has signed on as sponsor of a new velodrome project that is expected to open this month, according to a report on the Crain's Detroit Business website.
The 166 metre velodrome is part of the Detroit Fitness Foundation's new $4 million project that includes biking, running and walking facilities at an indoor complex at Mack Avenue and I-75. Dale Hughes, executive director of the foundation, told Detroit Business that the deal was a "long-term" agreement, although further details have not been disclosed.
The 64,000 sq. foot complex is enclosed in an inflatable dome, which first went up in September, according to the report. Workers painted the Lexus logo on the track last month. Hughes, who told Detroit Business that he has built or is building velodromes in Atlanta for the 1996 Olympics, India, Israel, Qatar, Canada, Kazakstan, Turkey, Armenia and Belgium, said the Detroit velodrome can accommodate 980 people and will feature concessions, including "finger food" and beer and other beverages, on the inside of the track, where some of the seating will be placed.
Hughes expects the velodrome to host Friday and Saturday night races and aims to produce nationally and/or internationally talented riders by 2020 or 2024, according to the report.