The race is a little over a week away but riders and teams are already gathering in Australia for the 2014 Santos Tour Down Under.
Richie Porte (Sky) made the trip the team hotel fresh from his third place at the Australian national championships. It's the first time since 2011 that the Tasmanian has made the journey to his home race. He will be joined later on in the week by his fellow podium finishers Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) and Cadel Evans (BMC). As a two-time champion, Gerrans will be a strong contender for the title again this year, but he will face tough competition from his compatriots
Former champion André Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) has disregarded any notion that he might take a third title, saying earlier this week that the course will be too hard. At last year's race, the German national champion sealed his place as the most decorated rider at the Tour Down Under and he will be looking to add to his total of 14 stage wins this time around. Among those aiming to stop him are Roberto Ferrari (Lampre-Merida) and Elia Viviani (Cannondale), but the Italian duo will have to think smart if they want to beat Greipel.
Argos-Shimano's delegation is also already present in Australia, but they wore unsponsored kit for their first training ride in Australia. The Dutch team won't be training in their new jersey until tomorrow (Tuesday), after the official announcement is made at the team's presentation on Monday.
The Tour Down Under starts on January 21, with a 135km stage beginning in Nuriootpa.
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