The first race on the 2016 WorldTour calendar, the Tour Down Under, kicks off in less than two weeks. With the majority of teams confirming rosters for the Australian race, Cyclingnews has cast its eyes over the start list for five riders to watch. With four former winners and numerous stage winners lining up in Adelaide, once again a quality field of riders have chosen to make their season debuts at the Australian race.
2015 champion Rohan Dennis co-leads a strong BMC Racing team with last year's runner-up and new teammate, Richie Porte, and the duo will start the race as two of the outright favourites for the ochre jersey. Three-time winner Simon Gerrans is a consistent winner at the Tour Down Under and will be one of the primary rivals to the BMC duo with his Orica-GreenEdge squad looking to return to the top step of the podium in 2016.
Geraint Thomas has been a regular at the race over the last few seasons and with a strong Team Sky squad heading down under, the Welshman will be looking to start the season on a strong note as he looks to continue his transition to a GC rider following his breakout 2015 Tour de France performances.
Lampre-Merida's new signing Louis Meintjes makes his debut for the Italian WorldTour at the Tour Down Under as he looks to continue his progression in the sport having made his Tour de France debut last year alongside finishing in the top-ten on GC at the Vuelta a Espana. The South African will be one the young riders to watch at the race but just how he fares in the Australian heat and so early in the season will be revealed once racing gets underway.
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