Adelaide - South
Africa's Daryl Impey is bidding to become the first cyclist to win
back-to-back titles at Australia's Tour Down Under as the race gets
under way in sweltering conditions around Adelaide on Tuesday.
Mitchelton-Scott's Impey won last year's UCI season-opening event on
countback from Australia's Richie Porte for the biggest victory of his
career, and went on to have his most successful season in 2018.
No one has won consecutive titles in the 20 years of the Tour Down
Under. But with only one arduous uphill stage finish this year, where
last year he finished second behind Porte, Impey is primed for a
"Australia has and always will be important for us," Impey said.
would definitely like to win the Tour Down Under again and we are
arriving to try to do just that.
"For me personally, it would be great to win back-to-back. No one has done that."
The six-stage race takes place in the south of the country on the streets of Adelaide and through the surrounding countryside.
With extreme temperatures of 40 degrees Celsius and above forecast for
much of the event, race organisers along with team and rider
representatives have made the decision to modify the race route for
Tuesday's opening stage.
Based on the severe conditions forecast of buffeting winds the 3.4km finishing circuit will be removed, putting the total
distance of Stage 1 at 129km, organisers said.
The tour begins with expected sprints on the three opening stages before the Corkscrew climb returns on stage four.
The signature climb on the tour up Willunga Hill has been moved to
the final day, ensuring that the race for the ochre jersey will go right
down to the wire.
Last year's runner-up Porte, who stormed to a 48-second win over
Colombian rider Esteban Chavez in the 2017 edition to claim his maiden
victory in the race, has won the gruelling Willunga uphill stage for the
last five years.
Slovakia's three-time former world champion Peter Sagan is back again
for the German Bora-Hansgrohe team after finishing second three times
at the TDU in 2017 and then last year winning the fourth stage to
temporarily take the overall lead of the race.
The strong Team Sky has not won a stage at the Tour Down Under since
last year's Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas conquered the Corkscrew
in 2013. This year Team Sky will be led by Dutchman Wout Poels.
Poels, 31, has been a key lieutenant at the Tour de France and won Liege-Bastogne-Liege. He is making his TDU debut.