Fresh off receiving a wildcard invitation to the 2015 Tour de France, MTN-Qhubeka on Thursday announced the roster for February's Jayco Herald Sun Tour built around Grand Tour stage winners Matt Goss and Tyler Farrar.
The 62nd edition of the race will take place February 4-8.
For Australian Goss, the race will be a chance to improve on his runner-up finish on the Sun Tour’s first stage in 2014 into Ballarat, where he was narrowly beaten by Garmin-Sharp’s Nathan Haas. Goss first competed in the race in 2005, representing the Australian national team at just 18. Three years later, while riding for CSC-Saxobank, he won his first two stages of the 2008 edition.
“The Herald Sun Tour is a tried and tested race, always a nice race no matter which end of the year it is held,” he said.
A start at the Jayco Herald Sun Tour will be key to Goss’ run at the Spring Classics, which could provide a launch pad to a Tour de France return.
“It will be nice to have it under the belt before we head back to Europe,” he said. “This one will be my first race since last September [other than the Cadel Evans race] so I'm coming off a big break. I’m Definitely aiming to be right up at the pointy end. It’s a good opportunity to show people I'm not gone yet. There's no better platform to do that than here in Australia.”
Like Goss, American Farrar is in his first season with South African-registered MTN-Qhubeka. The 30-year-old ended 2014 with a flurry of results, including a stage win at the Tour of Beijing en route to victory in the points classification. This year will mark his debut appearance at the long-running Australian stage race.
Joining Goss and Farrar will be domestiques Serge Pauwels, Songezo Jim and three-time Irish Champion Matt Brammeier, who is also a new signing for MTN. Making a return to Australia will be Nicolas Dougall, who spent his formative years growing up in Brisbane racing for several seasons in Australia’s National Road Series.