The WorldTour season begins in earnest this weekend in Adelaide with the Santos Tour Down Under. The six-day stage race is preceded by the People's Choice Classic on Sunday - giving the sprinters a chance to open their account early – before the main race gets underway two days later.
Simon Gerrans won't be back to defend his title after breaking his collarbone in a mountain bike accident late last month. Despite this, Australia still come to the race with some strong contenders in BMC’s Cadel Evans and Team Sky’s Richie Porte. Evans finished second to Gerrans in 2014 and, with this being the penultimate race of his career, the 37-year-old will be gunning for the leader’s ochre jersey.
Porte is the in-form man this year after winning the Australian national time trial last week. The Tasmanian won his only victory of 2014 at the Tour Down Under and, while there is no time trial to sink his teeth into, he will be tough competition for Evans.
Marcel Kittel is the star attraction in the sprint competition with record-breaking stage winner André Greipel opting to stay in Europe. Kittel won the People's Choice Classic last year but didn't contest a single sprint in the main Tour Down Under. That should change this year but he will have to share the team's support with GC contender Tom Dumoulin.
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