Australian riders will have just two days between the national championships time trial on January 8 and the start of the four-day Women's Tour Down Under on January 10. But might it play in their favour?
Certainly Australian riders have tended to dominate at their home stage race since the event's inception in 2012, with Australian riders having won the overall title four times out of seven. Often having acclimatised to the oppressive summer heat after returning home from Europe for Christmas, the Aussies relish the chance for a rare hit-out in front of family and friends against a nevertheless high-quality international field.
Amanda Spratt has won the past two editions of the race, and you'd be brave to bet against the Australian Mitchelton-Scott rider making it three out of three. Spratt had her best season yet in 2018, starting with her TDU victory, where she also won a stage and the mountains classification.
She went on to win a stage and the overall at the Emakumeen Bira, and won a stage, the mountains classification, and took third overall at the Giro Rosa in July. She rounded out the season with a silver medal at the World Championship road race in Innsbruck, Austria, in September.
Last year's Women's Tour Down Under runner-up, Lauren Stephens of the USA, pushed Spratt hard, but her new Tibco-SVB team will have their work cut out against the combined might of a Mitchelton-Scott team that has won every edition of the race but one.