Some 108 days after Vincenzo Nibali brought down the curtain on the 2015 UCI WorldTour season with victory at Il Lombardia, the 2016 campaign will kick off with the Santos Tour Down Under on Tuesday January 19.
The traditional season-opener has attracted its usual mix of high-profile riders looking to test the legs after the winter break, Classics men beginning their preparations for spring and GC hopefuls keen to start the season with a bang.
An intriguing mix of stages awaits as we get to take a look at the WorldTour peloton for the first time this season – new kits, new signings and all.
The Tour Down Under is a race of fine margins and last year’s edition was won by Rohan Dennis, just two seconds ahead of Richie Porte. Both line up together for BMC Racing for the 2016 race after Porte left Team Sky.
That winning margin was comprehensive compared to previous editions, mind – Simon Gerrans beat Cadel Evans by a solitary second in 2014, and his 2012 victory over Alejandro Valverde was even closer than that.
Gerrans will again be in contention this time out, having missed last year’s race through injury, while a healthy British presence means there’s plenty to entice fans on these shores from their beds for an early start.
Who are the riders set to shine, and where will the race be won? Read on for our comprehensive preview.