Stage 1: Prospect - Lobethal
What Stuart O'Grady says...
Checker Hill never gets any easier. It's a really steep climb and it's very early in the race. Many people will be trying to conserve energy as it's the first proper climb. A lot of guys haven't raced yet this year so the heart rate will be going and it hurts a lot.
It's quite a lumpy ride out to Lobethal. We've done some reconnaissance and it's a lot harder than what it looks on paper. It could be a real little surprise package that day. The final 10km of the circuit is really, really tough. Especially as it's the first main race of the year a lot of guys won't have much racing under the belt. It could come as a real shock to the system and come out with a surprise result.
There are plenty of opportunities for attacks and I don't think it's going to come down to a big bunch sprint. It's tough enough to split the field. Even the final sprint to the line is a slight drag uphill. For the first race of the year it's going to really hurt.
Image ©: Santos Tour Down Under
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