While the Women's Tour Down Under began with Italy’s Letizia Paternoster giving Trek-Segafredo their first ever win, the men were counting down the days to their season debut, with many heading out for a final long training ride on the roads around Adelaide before Sunday’s Down Under Classic criterium and then the start of the Tour Down Under on Tuesday January 15.
Since arriving in South Australia, riders have been studying the new stage finishes in this year’s race and revisiting key climbs such as Corkscrew Hill and Willunga Hill, which this year hosts the final stage of the race and so is expected to decide the overall winner.
Last year Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott) won the overall title thanks to time bonuses picked up during the race, taking the ochre-coloured jersey from defending champion Richie Porte, who placed second on the same overall time. Tom-Jelte Slagter (Dimension Data), another former winner of the race, completed the final overall podium in third.
The teams stay in the Adelaide Hilton hotel and start their rides from Victoria Square, which hosts the huge tent where mechanics and team staff prepare their bikes and equipment. Riders often spend time with mechanics, making final tweaks to their new race bikes and equipment.
The Tour Down Under is the first chance to see many of the new kit designs for the 2019 season and the new bikes riders will use. Disc brakes are becoming more widely used and Cyclingnews has already spotted the Katusha-Alpecin and Trek-Segafredo riders using SRAM’s still-to-be-unveiled 12-speed groupset, the Campagnolo 12-speed groupset, and what appear to be new lightweight shoes from Specialized.
Peter Sagan led the Bora-Hansgrohe ride into the hills around Adelaide, riding with teammates Daniel Oss, Maciej Bodnar, Austrian national champion Lukas Pöstlberger, Gregor Mühlberger and new signing Oscar Gatto.
Richie Porte joined his new Trek-Segafredo teammates for a training ride, wearing the team’s fluorescent training kit rather than the red, white and black race kit.
Michael Valgren will make his debut with Dimension Data at the Tour Down Under after his move from Astana, while Rohan Dennis will join forces with his new Bahrain-Merida teammates as they kick of the 2019 season.
The Katusha-Alpecin riders went Koala spotting during their long ride in the quiet roads around the city, with Alex Dowsett claiming they had spotted nine different Koalas during their ride.
Click or swipe through the gallery above for a look at who has been out training and what riders look like in 2019 kit.
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