Chris Froome will kick off his 2017 campaign headlining Team Sky's squad for this weekend's Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race. The one-day event will be the start of a short Australian campaign for Froome, who will race the Herald Sun Tour, which begins next Wednesday.
Froome has been in Australia for the last two weeks, training in the warm weather, while some of his teammates suffered in the cold and rain at a Mallorca training camp. He will travel to South Africa for a high-altitude training camp after the Australian races before riding the Volta a Catalunya in late March.
Team Sky is the defending champion after Peter Kennaugh claimed victory in 2016 after a late attack, beating Leigh Howard by six seconds. Kennaugh won't be in Australia this year as he begins his season at the Mallorca Challenge on Thursday.
Joining Froome will be most of the team that has just finished racing at the Tour Down Under, with Geraint Thomas the only rider heading home after the opening WorldTour race.
Danny van Poppel will be the team's most likely chance at victory should the race end in a sprint. Van Poppel has had a solid start to the season with a run of top-five finishes at the Tour Down Under, but he was unable to topple Orica-Scott's Caleb Ewan in the sprints.
Team Sky does have breakaway options in Luke Rowe and Ian Stannard, although they may wish to throw one of their climbers into the mix and utilise the pair to look after Van Poppel. Sebastian Henao, Sergio Henao and Kenny Elissonde complete the line-up.
Elissonde was due to begin his season Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race but replaced Owain Doull after he underwent surgery to have a ruptured appendix removed.
Team Sky for the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race: Kenny Elissonde, Chris Froome, Sebastian Henao, Sergio Henao, Luke Rowe, Ian Stannard and Danny van Poppel.
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