Adelaide - Two-time winner Andre Greipel of Germany will begin his 2018 season at January's Tour Down Under for the first time in four years.
The 35-year-old Greipel, a winner of 11 stages on the Tour de France, confirmed on Saturday he will return for the South Australian World Tour event which he won in 2008 and 2010.
The powerful sprinter, who last competed in the tour in 2014, heads the Belgium-based Lotto-Soudal team.
Greipel's win in the 2008 event, by seven seconds from Australian Allan Davis, kicked off one of his most successful seasons and he hopes to have similar success in 2018.
Greipel said the six-stage Tour Down Under is "always good to start a hopefully successful season. The first wins and points to earn for my team and I would be nice."