The Lotto-Soudal team has confirmed that Adam Hansen and Greg Henderson will lead the Belgian team at the Tour Down Under in the absence of regular stage winner André Greipel, with new signing Thomas De Gendt also making his debut in the team's red and white retro-look jersey.
Greipel announced that he will miss the Tour Down Under after riding it every year since 2008. He will make a more laid-back season debut at the Challenge Mallorca races in early February.
In Greipel's absence, Henderson will likely take over the sprinter's role. The experienced Kiwi has long been a key rider in Greipel's lead out train. Hansen returns to the Tour Down Under to defend the King of the Mountains classification he won at this year's event.
He was fourth on the key stage to Campbelltown in 2014 and went on to ride all three Grand Tours during the season, winning a stage at the Vuelta a Espana. He raced for a total of 99 days in 2014, one of the highest in the peloton.
Also in the seven-rider Lotto Soudal squad are the ever-aggressive Lars Bak, Kenny Dehaes, Gert Dockx and Boris Vallée.
"We are delighted to be returning to Australia once again and to the Santos Tour Down Under to introduce our new sponsor to the fans and show the strength of our team. We are aiming for a good overall general classification with any number of our riders, as all have the ability to make an impact on the race," directeur sportif Herman Frison said in a statement from the Belgian team.
Lotto-Soudal for the Tour Down Under: Thomas De Gendt, Lars Bak, Gert Dockx, Kenny Dehaes, Adam Hansen, Greg Henderson and Boris Vallee.
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