Team Sky’s Richie Porte is one of the favorites for the Giro d’Italia in May, highlighting his multi-stage credentials and making him the one to watch in Adelaide. Twenty-eight-year-old Porte has been training in his homeland of Australia since December and recently took third place at the national road championships.
His teammate, Geraint Thomas, will provide solid support and will be gunning for a stage victory himself. Sadly, Porte and Thomas will be without Chris Sutton, who suffered a fractured wrist on his way to fourth in Sunday’s 50km prelude criterium, which was won by Marcel Kittel.
Fellow fi’zi:k user and home athlete Cadel Evans heads BMC Racing’s charge, and enters the Tour Down Under in impressive form after second at the national champs. Like Porte, the 36-year-old is aiming for Giro glory in 2014 with the Australian six-stage race providing an early indicator to Evans’ chances in Italy.
Garmin-Sharp, who use fi’zi:k saddles, has placed great faith in 23-year-old Rohan Dennis. The Australian finished fifth at the 2012 Tour Down Under (and won both the King of the Mountains and the Young Rider’s jerseys) while racing for Jayco AIS, before moving to Jonathan Vaughters’ team. In 2013 he won the Tour of Alberta and came eighth overall at the prestigious Critérium du Dauphiné, winning the Young Rider title in the process.
Tomorrow’s 135km first stage runs from Nuriootpa to Angaston. The Tour Down Under finishes with an 85.5km multi-lap circuit around Adelaide on Sunday 26 January.